NB Liquor sees 15% spike in cooler, cider sales for 2019-20 fiscal year

A customer shops in the craft beer section of the NB Liquor store in Fredericton, N.B., on Friday, June 16, 2017. The Canadian Press/Stephen MacGillivray

Alcool NB Liquor reported an increase in sales last fiscal year, and a significant spike in the sale of coolers and ciders.

In the 2019-20 fiscal year, the company sold over 5.4 million litres of coolers and ciders, a 15-per cent increase from the prior year. This carried a 17.4-per cent increase in sales, bringing in $3,863,000 last fiscal year that ended Mar. 29, 2020.

Coolers and ciders had the highest increase, followed by spirits with a 3.5 per cent increase in litre amounts and 4.19 per cent increase in sales at $106,580,000.

The company’s annual report says Alcool NB Liquor has been a national leader in coolers and ciders since 2015. It says this year’s spike is partly due to the “expansion of coolers into the grocery channel, which contributed to three per cent of overall sales.”

Read more: Patrick Parent, CEO of NB Liquor and Cannabis NB, announces resignation

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Alcool NB Liquor generated $173.9 million in net income with a $168.2 million budget, according to the report. In total, sales for year increased by 3.8 per cent, at $449.3 million.

It says it sold 63 million litres of liquor in over 8.2 million transactions. The average receipt was around $34.

In addition, New Brunswick defied a national three per cent decline in beer sales with 1.3 per cent increase compared to 2018-19. The report says 7.7 per cent of all beer sales came from products produced locally.

In fact, Alcool NB Liquor says 27.6 per cent of its products come from partnerships with local craft alcohol producers. While beer makes up the majority, 3.8 per cent of coolers and cider sales, 1.6 per cent of spirit sales and 0.4 per cent of wine sales came from local producers.

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With only around two weeks between when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus pandemic, or only a week since N.B. declared a state of emergency, and the end of ANBL’s fiscal year, the company’s pandemic-related expenses were only $446 in that fiscal year.

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The company says there was an increase in sales during that period, which can partially “be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report says. It also says the financial impact of the pandemic on the corporation cannot be estimated yet.

Read more: N.B. municipalities pandemic losses estimated at half of available funding

The report came out two weeks after ANBL and Cannabis NB announced their president and CEO is resigning.  Patrick Parent, who’s been in the position for just over a year, is returning to the private sector according to the company announcement.

Parent’s final day at work was Dec. 31, after which Lori Stickles, vice-president of finance and CFO, began as acting president and CEO on Jan. 1, 2021.

In the report released on Monday, Parent said ANBL will be releasing a new three-year strategic plan in 2020-21.

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