Just call us the Friendly, Imbibing Manitobans.
Statistics Canada released figures Tuesday that reveal beer and liquor stores and agencies sold $19.4-billion worth of alcoholic beverages during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009. That's a three per cent jump over the previous year with the increase in Manitoba 4.5 per cent to nearly $613 million.
Saskatchewan saw the biggest jump in sales of all provinces and territories at 7.2 per cent, followed by Nunavut at 5.8 and Nova Scotia at 4.6.
The StatsCan numbers also reveal that Canadian alcoholic tastes are becoming somewhat more refined. Beer remains the most-popular alcoholic beverage, but its market share has declined to 46 per cent — down from a peak of 53 per cent in 1993.
On a per capita basis, beer sales have declined 28 per cent from their peak of 115.2 litres in 1976 to 83.5 litres in 2009. At the same time the market share for wine has increased to 29 per cent, up 4.6 per cent from the previous year.
The overall growth, according to StatsCan, is attributable to an increase in the sale of imported spirits and beer compared with domestic products and a one per cent increase in the cost of alcoholic beverages during the fiscal year.