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Canada beer volumes decline in face of cannabis legalisation - figures

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Domestic beer volumes in Canada fell by 5% in the first full year of cannabis legalisation, new Beer Canada figures have revealed.

A number of companies, including Constellation Brands, have unveiled new THC and CBD beverages in Canada

A number of companies, including Constellation Brands, have unveiled new THC and CBD beverages in Canada

The performance, in the 12 months to the end of November, is a marked decrease compared to calender-2018, when average growth was flat, according to the industry trade group. Cowen & Co analyst Vivien Azer said volumes from 2014 to 2018 were also stagnant for Canada's sales of domestically-produced beer.

Azer linked the underperformance to the country's federal legalisation of recreational cannabis in October 2018 and forecast that new forms of cannabis products now hitting the market, such as beverages, will "likely perpetuate this trend".

A number of mainstream producers are launching cannabis beverage offerings in Canada since they were allowed to go on sale from October. Bud Light owner Anheuser-Busch InBev has unveiled a range of CBD-infused teas as part of a cannabis joint-venture. Meanwhile, last month, Constellation Brands showed off its upcoming THC and CBD beverage ranges.

Despite the domestic beer challenges, volumes for imported beer were up 1% in the 12 months to the end of November. Azer said this matched trends in the US, where consumers are trading up. The imported beer growth in Canada is the best since 2015.

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