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Manitoba near top in increase in alcohol sales

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Booze sales in Manitoba increased at one of the fastest paces in the country in the fiscal year that ended on March 31 of last year, according to Statistics Canada figures released today.

The agency said $710.1-million worth of beer, wine and spirits were sold during the year by beer and liquor stores and the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Commission.

That was an increase of 3.6 per cent from the previous fiscal year, which left Manitoba tied with Saskatchewan for the second-biggest percentage gain in the country after Alberta’s hefty seven-per-cent increase.

As has been the case for years, beer remained king in Manitoba, accounting for $312.8 million of the $710.1 million in sales. Spirits came in second, at $250.9 million, with wine bringing up the rear at $146.5 million.

But wine sales grew at a faster pace during the year than either beer or spirits, the figures show. They jumped 7.2 per cent during the year, compared to gains of 3.9 per cent for spirits and 1.8 per cent for beer.

But while booze sales here grew at one of the fastest paces in the country, sales per capita were still among the lowest in Canada, at just under $700 ($699.60, to be exact). Only two other provinces — New Brunswick and Ontario — had lower per capita consumption rates, at $631.30 and $669.40 respectively.

Yukon had the highest consumption rate, at $1,332.10 for every person aged 15 years and older.

Nationally, Canadians are buying less beer, but more wine and spirits, the Statistics Canada figures show. They spent $21.4 billion on alcoholic beverages during the fiscal year, up 2.2 per cent from a year ago.

Beer was still the favourite tipple in Canada as sales totalled $9.1 billion for the year ended March 31, but that was down 0.1 per cent from a year ago

And by volume, sales of domestic beer fell 1.7 per cent to 2.0 billion litres, while import beer sales dropped 3.8 per cent to 300 million litres.

The drop was a continuation of a longer-term trend.

— Staff/Canadian Press

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