Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Canadian Craft-Brew Stats: Not Sophisticated

The CBC recently commented on the decline of the beer market share in Canada as evidence that "Canadian palates — at least when it comes to alcohol — are becoming somewhat more sophisticated." The inference that wine drinkers are more sophisticated is pilsner off a mallard's back to most craft-brew drinkers. My problem with the report is that the stats are too vague to draw these types of conclusions.

Perhaps it's no coincidence that the root of the word "sophisticated" is "sophistry" — meaning deceitful or misleading.

I used my university library account to get the raw Statistics Canada data (which they'd charge you $3 a pop for otherwise). Turns out no analysis is done on the types of beer or wine that are bought. The changing sales data could be explained by falls in macro-brew sales, coupled with an explosion in the market for Yellow Tail and cheap Euro-zone Vodka imports. Craft beer purchases might be rocketing. We just don't know.

I suppose the real point is that we don't have readily-available data on the craft-brew industry in Canada. The US Brewers Association does a good job of publicizing craft beer sales south-of-the-border — and they posted a 7% year-on-year volume increase in 2009. It's possible Canadian craft beer is doing just as well, but I can't find a single reference on the equivalent Brewers Association of Canada website. Their fancy brochure just breaks down provincial beer sales by can, draft and bottle.

It could be I just don't know where to look, in which case I'd appreciate a pointer. But otherwise, how about some craft-brew industry stats, Canada?

11 comments:

  1. The wine drinkers clip was pure hilarity.

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  2. You gotta love those old British comedies. I watched a lot of Ab Fab with my mother. Only Fools and Horses had it moments too.

    The US brewers associations have records of how much each brewery makes. It's actually ran by craft brewers. Our brewers association is ran by the big guys and most of the rest aren't craft brewers. Microbreweries, yes. Craft, hell no.

    What Canada needs is a real representation of her craft breweries. BC has the Craft Brewers Association of British Columbia, but they don't seem to do anything. Rick Green is the executive director, but he is going to Asia on some business venture. True representation is needed.

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