Canadian Beer Drinkers A Major Economic Engine: Report

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Good news, beer drinkers of Canada: You’re good for the economy. | Getty

Good news, beer drinkers of Canada: You’re good for the economy.

The beer industry directly and indirectly supports one out of every 100 jobs in the country, says a new report from the Conference Board of Canada.

The report, commissioned for Beer Canada, a lobby group, also found beer is a major part of life for many Canadian consumers. Some 8.1 per cent of Canadians’ total food and drink budgets are spent on beer, and Canadians overall bought the equivalent of 235 bottles of beer per person in 2012, the report found.

"Beer has been a part of Canadian life for hundreds of years," Pedro Antunes, Director, National and Provincial Forecast, said in a statement. "The beer economy is a significant employer. No matter where people buy beer, they support jobs across the country."

For every dollar Canadian households spend on beer, $1.12 is generated in economic activity, the report found. Some 163,200 jobs exist directly or indirectly because of the industry, including farmers (barley and hops), brewery workers, transportation workers and retail clerks, among others, the report noted.

The industry also accounts for $5.8 billion in tax revenue annually. For every dollar spent on beer, 44 cents go to the government through one tax or another, the report said.

The study found beer far outstrips wine and hard liquor in terms of popularity. The brewing industry is more than three times as large as distilleries and wineries combined.

Not everyone sees Canada’s love for beer as good news. In a report earlier this year, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) noted that alcohol consumption is now the third leading cause of the global burden of disease and injury.

The report said Canadian alcohol consumption is more than 50 per cent above the global average.

Dr. Jürgen Rehm, director of CAMH's Social and Epidemiological Research Department, pointed to the 15-to-29 age group as being Canada’s most unhealthy — meaning most frequent — drinkers.

"Most of the harm and most of the death happens to people who drink more than three drinks a day. Or someone who is drinking four or more drinks on a single occasion," Rehm said.

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