Canadians are drinking more and better beer, according to figures published by Statistics Canada, which indicated that sales of imported beers have increased their market share by 25% last year, capturing 9% of the total market.

These figures also mark the sixth successive year where the market share of standard domestic brands such as Labatt and Molson have declined.

In total, Canadians spent C$13bn (US$8.5bn) on alcohol last year an increase of 5% from the year before. More than 50% of that figure was spent on beer, 4% more than in 2000.

Beer captured 52% of total alcohol sales in 2000, while spirits and wine accounted for 26% and 23% respectively.

Sales of red wine were 11% higher than the previous year with Canadian wine drinkers preferring red wine to white. The French-speaking province of Quebec accounted for 42% of all Canadian red wine sales.

Imported spirit sales rose 10%, whilst domestic spirits climbed 4%.
Meanwhile spirit and wine-based coolers accounted for C$225m in sales last year, up 8% from the previous year.

Statistics Canada said per capita, sales of alcohol increased nationally for the third straight year, with each person over the age of 15 purchasing an average of 103 litres of alcohol in 2000, up one litre from 1999.