April 30, 2014 9:51 am

Beer drink of choice in Saskatchewan

Watch above: people in Saskatchewan are making beer their drink of choice

SASKATOON - Statistics Canada numbers prove that Saskatchewan enjoys beer.

For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, Saskatchewan residents spent an average of $323 per capita on beer, making it the alcoholic drink of choice.

At the Saskatoon Co-op liquor store, staff said they can attest to this with a lot of buzz over the business’s “beer wall” inside.

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“We have over 300 craft and import beers on this wall inside the cooler,” said Dawn Wreford, manager of liquor procurement and marketing at the Blairmore store.

With 1,200 special order products to offer consumers, beer sales were expected to represent 30 per cent of the store’s business. Now its forecast to exceed that.

“The craft beer blew our minds, I did some number studies from some of the Co-ops stores in Calgary… and used what I thought was really quite a high number and within our first weekend, we were decimated, cleaned out on the craft beer,” said Wreford.

When the store first opened, Wreford said it was difficult to keep the shelves stocked with craft beer as demand exceeded inventory. Craft beer is also considered a special order item which can take up to two weeks to have orders filled.

“We couldn’t get them on shelf as fast as they were coming off the shelf, so for the new products coming in we’ve set up a temporary display just to showcase them,” said Wreford.

The most popular are beers along the wall with creative names and labels including Pothole Filler and Evil Twin.

“The Belgium beers are really popular, fruit beers, lambic fruit beers from Belgium, it’s incredible actually and the Canadian breweries there’s a real interest,” said Wreford.

So just how much beer did Saskatchewan residents purchase? According to Statistics Canada, $293.5 million in beer, compared to $91.3 million in wine purchases.

“People heading off to the lake, they’re not buying bottles of wine to drink by the camp fire, well they might be but there’s a lot more beer consumed for sure,” said Wreford.

Another reason may be supporting local beer, as opposed to local grapes.

Prairie Sun Brewery opened in Saskatoon in August 2013 and the owners said business has exceeded their expectations.

“I think there’s a lot more options for beer out there and flavour wise then maybe there was a few years ago,” said brewery owner Heather William.

“There’s over 150 beer styles so if you want a lager, an ale, if you want something dark you get all these flavour profiles in beer, that with wine it’s maybe more one dimensional.”

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