BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) 2022/2023 Update

By: Source: BC Liquor Distribution Branch

The last few years have been dramatic and at times chaotic as the liquor industry navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain constraints, and extreme weather events. To help mitigate supply chain issues, the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB), along with beverage alcohol suppliers and retailers were quick to adapt and shifted distribution channels as needed.

While last year wasn’t without its own set of challenges, data collected by the LDB for 2022 shows a slow and steady leveling out and return to normal market activity in BC’s liquor industry.

Overall, provincial alcohol sales continued to grow year over year with $4,025,970,737 in sales at the wholesale level, including direct delivery sales, which is an increase of $82.8 million or 2.1% in comparison to 2021.

In 2022, the wine, spirits, refreshment beverage, and draught beer categories all saw an increase in sales. The most significant change was draught beer sales which realized an increase of 32% over the previous year mostly due to the recovery of the hospitality sector. Conversely, packaged beer saw its sales drop by 1.2% compared to the previous year.

When we look at the sales mix in 2022 compared to 2021, despite losing half of a percentage point, wine continued to lead with the largest market share at 33%. Beer maintained its second-place position in the market with a combined market share of 28.8% for packaged and draught.

Spirits also continued to steadily increase their market share by half a percentage point capturing 26.8% in provincial dollar sales.

Unlike the last two years when the refreshment beverage market share showed significant growth year over year, its market share declined by 0.1% in 2022, showing a leveling of this category to 11.4%.

Trends Over 5 Years

When looking at the last five years, we can see how the market share of each category has changed cumulatively year over year and which categories have experienced an increase or decrease in sales growth.

Refreshment beverage growth over the last five years averages out to 5.1% overall with the most significant increase between 2019 to 2020. Growth continued, but at a steadier pace between 2020 to 2021, and began to level out in 2022.

The spirits category also realized steady growth over the past five years with cumulative growth of 2.1%.

Since 2018, wine has lost 1.7% market share and has been trending downward compared to the other categories, but still carries the largest market share.

Packaged beer has seen the greatest decline over the past five years, down 4.1%. Draught beer sales are heavily influenced by the hospitality sector and, not surprisingly, this category’s sales have mirrored the downturn and recovery of the hospitality sector through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Growing & Declining Subcategories

Digging a bit deeper into the subcategories, sales in 2022 mirrored the general market trends where spirits realized the greatest growth compared to wine, beer, and refreshment beverages. Tequila, Asian spirits, and other spirits categories including flavoured spirits, moonshine spirits, and ready-to-mix/serve cocktails continued to show substantive sales growth in 2022.

Tequila experienced a surge in popularity with a sales growth of 24.61% last year. Both American and Irish whiskey saw significant increases in sales growth as well at 21.19% and 14.06% respectively, demonstrating growing popularity for their distinct flavours and versatility in cocktails.

On the flip side, wine and ciders showed declining sales growth, specifically wine from Australia, France, South Africa, and Spain.

Looking forward, we expect many of these trends to continue in 2023, as we return to pre-pandemic levels and the hospitality sector continues to recover. Stay up to date on the latest trends by visiting the LDB Wholesale Operations website for detailed information on new and top-selling products. Reports showing the top sellers in the spirits, wine, refreshment beverage, and beer categories each quarter are posted in the resource section at

Additionally, product category trends for wine, beer, spirits and refreshment beverages, including many subcategories, are captured in the LDB Liquor Market Review which is published on a quarterly basis and available on the LDB corporate website at .