The Canadian beer market suffered its biggest decline in years in 2019 as competition increased from other beverage categories and an expanding cannabis industry.
Sales of domestic and imported beer fell 3% last year from 2018, the steepest decline in at least seven years, according to data from industry group Beer Canada.
Domestic beer sales were hit especially hard, closing 2019 with eight consecutive monthly losses.
In December, domestic beer sales fell almost 4% compared to the same period a year earlier.
Sales of domestic beer expanded modestly in the months before cannabis was legalized in October 2018.
However, domestic beer sales by volume fell in 11 out of 12 months in 2019, compared to the year-before period.
Some brewers have partnered with cannabis companies in an effort to tap a growth industry.
Molson Coors struck a joint venture with Ontario-headquartered cannabis producer Hexo last year, after concluding, “the emergence of legal cannabis in certain U.S. states and Canada may result in a shift of discretionary income away from our products or a change in consumer preferences away from beer,” the brewer stated.