Local craft beer, ciders and spirits boosting Nova Scotia liquor sales

Posted : 09/01/2016

Metro News
By Kristen Lipscombe
August 30, 2016

The popularity of local products, including craft beers, spirits and ciders, has helped give Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation sales a bit of a boost.

The corporation announced Tuesday that its total sales in the first quarter of 2016-17 went up about 10.1 per cent over the same period last year, or $14.4 million, while net earnings increased 10.3 per cent, or $5.8 million.

"The fact that there are an additional seven selling days included in the results made a difference," NSLC spokeswoman Denise Corra said Tuesday.

"But even with those seven selling days, we do see positive growth right across the board," she said.

Corra was referring to more selling days this year than during the same time frame last year, including the Canada Day holiday, which fell into the second quarter of 2015-16, the corporation explains. The first fiscal quarter ran April 1 through July 3 this year.

With 36 licensed microbreweries across the province now, sales of Nova Scotia craft beers went up 48.4 per cent to $2.5 million total, while local "ready-to-drink products" such as ciders rose 84.6 per cent to $0.6 million total, with popular brands Muwin Estate's Bulwark Craft Cider and Peller Estates No Boats on Sunday Cider playing a large role in growth.

Sales of Nova Scotia spirits jumped up the most, by 141.4 per cent and also up to about $0.6 million total, on the strength of brands such as Nova Scotia Spirit Company gin, rum and vodka; Calderra's Hurricane 5 Whisy, Irwonworks Rum and Glynnevan Double Barrel Whisky.

Nova Scotia wines, those that use locally-grown grapes, experienced a 16.6 per cent increase in sales, to $2.4 million, while Nova Scotia commercial wines, which are produced in the province without local groups, saw an 11.5 per cent rise, up to $5.4 million.

"They had a strong year in 2015-2016 that continued into the first quarter of this year," Corra said of local products, adding they're "gaining a reputation at home and beyond, and continue to perform very strong(ly) in terms of sales in our stores."

In total, the NSLC sold $157.9 million worth of product during the first quarter of the fiscal year year, for total earnings of about $62.1 million.

"We're going to be working hard to continue that momentum right through the balance of the year," Corra said.

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