When it came to what Ontarians brought home during their liquor runs at the LCBO, the company said customers went for options that gave them more bang for their buck.
“As Ontarians looked to reduce their spending, there was a clear shift in their drinking choices,” Abhay Garg, LCBO’s Vice President, Merchandising, said in a release.
On Wednesday, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) revealed which products experienced the most growth throughout the year, based on data from Nov. 6, 2022 to Nov. 4, 2023.
Though some customers remained brand loyal, many scoured the aisles for more budget-friendly options, the LCBO said.
The “tequila frenzy,” which was popular last year, continued to be a common choice for Ontarians, though at a slower rate. Overall, the LCBO noted there had been 44 per cent growth for the spirit in the last two years.
“Catching customers’ interest were brands with celebrity backing, innovative finishes (e.g. wine-barrel aging), eye-catching packaging, and 100 per cent agave,” the release reads.
When it came to beer, Ontarians chose mainstream Canadian choices, outpacing the demand for premium and craft beer by 10 per cent. Craft beer lovers, however, hopped on more adventurous choices, with IPAs among the most popular.
Pre-mixed cocktails, seltzers, coolers and other ready-to-drink products increased in popularity by 10 per cent since 2022. Canned cocktails were also a fan favourite, with the LCBO noting a 40 per cent growth over the previous year, thanks to new brands and more variety.
New customers sought after some bubbly, bringing home bottles like prosecco or other Italian, Spanish and local sparklers. The LCBO noted that, within other wine categories, customers waved off heavier styles to drink something fresher, like roses, white wines, and lighter reds.
More customers bought “alternative formats” of wine, with three-litre boxed wine increasing in sales by 28 per cent and 375 millilitre bottles of wine up by 15 per cent.
Low and dealcoholized wine were also popular choices, with lighter wines containing lower sugar contents more sought after than their counterparts, the LCBO said.
In an infographic shared with CTV News Toronto, the LCBO provided regional data on which alcoholic products saw the most growth in 2023.
Tequila led growth in most of the province, with the exception of Ottawa, where New Zealand White wine rose in popularity by 13 per cent.
In western, southwestern Ontario, and the Greater Toronto Area, mainstream beer saw a bump in sales at 15, 10, and 14 per cent, respectively.