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Canadian draught beer sales 2009

January 13, 2010

This isn’t pretty.  It’s probably not news to some of you either, but it is going to hurt us all. Draught sales are slipping. According to the Brewers Association of Canada and their monthly sales sheets, draught sales as a percentage of total beer sales are sliding.  They have only published the industry sales up to Sept last year, but I charted the slide:

Draught sales as a percent of total beer volume, Jan - Sept 09 (Canada)

Draught sales as a percent of total beer volume, Jan - Sept 09 (Canada)

I have voiced my opinion on why they are slipping, but here’s why it hurts us:

Bar Owners:

  • The Million Dollar Beer Marketing Secret. People drink beer in units, a beer is a beer. Sell them a pint or a bottle, it’s the same thing in the consumer’s eyes.
  • You have invested in a draught system, you need to use it.
  • You make more margin from draught than bottle (you should be anyhow).


  • Your success in the industry is measured by volume. Selling an 18oz pint is more desirable than a 12oz bottle.
  • You make (again, you should) make more $$ per HL on draught than bottle.
  • Draught gives you a medium to introduce new brands to the consumer.  “Never had a XYZ, try one on tap today”. Is Joe Six-Pack really going to invest $12+ on a 6 for a liquid he may or may not like?  Buying it at a bar is safe.  He can get a small sample or worst case, orders a pint and doesn’t drink/like it, he’ll probably get it taken off his bill.
  • You spend a disproportionate amount of marketing dollars on-premise than on retail and you know why.  Draught works.


  • The best beer is a fresh beer. Draught is typically fresher than bottle due to inventory turnover. This assumes, of course, that the bar is selling enough of the product.
  • You get a better price per ounce on draught vs. bottle.
  • Draught beer tastes better vs. bottle when served in the establishments who care about quality.

These last three reasons assume that the establishment is doing the right things and is pouring enough draught to ensure the quality.  My next post I will discuss the correct number of taps you should have in your bar; what is the right number of brands to offer and like this post, you probably aren’t going to like that either.


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