06/05/2015 10:23 EDT | Updated 06/05/2016 05:59 EDT

LCBO's Net Sales Hit $5 Billion As Ontarians Buy More Booze Than Ever

TORONTO - Ontarians bought more booze in the previous fiscal year than ever before, with sales at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario topping $5 billion for the first time.

The growth was fuelled in part by local products, with sales of craft cider nearly doubling to $4 million, sales of craft spirits rising more than 50 per cent to $6.7 million and sales of craft beer rising by about 35 per cent to $68.3 million.

Ontario wine showed smaller growth, an increase of 6.8 per cent, with net sales of $423 million.

Spirits was the LCBO's largest sales category, with sales of more than $2 billion, followed by wine at about $1.4 billion and beer at about $1 billion.

The net sales growth at the LCBO in fiscal 2014-15 was 4.3 per cent and the Crown agency transferred a dividend of about $1.8 billion to the Ontario government, excluding taxes.

A government-appointed advisory group that recommended changes to beer sales in Ontario, including selling six-packs in grocery stores, is now looking at wine and spirits, but has ruled out a sale of the LCBO.

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