NB Liquor sales up in 2011

New Brunswickers proved they love their booze as sales for NB Liquor were up this fiscal year.

New Brunswickers proved they love their booze as sales for NB Liquor were up this fiscal year.

Sales to the public were $283.6 million — 68.8 per cent of NB Liquor's total sales.

"NB Liquor achieved growth and encountered challenges across various markets in 2011," said Daniel Allain, president and chief executive officer of NB Liquor in a news release.

"The global financial crisis, which caused a rise in food and gas prices, left consumers with less disposable income in the year and contributed to the reduction of 100,000 retail transactions compared to 2010."

The beer category saw sales of $229.6 million in 2011 compared with $228.6 million in 2010. Beer is NB Liquor's top selling product.

The 2.9 per cent beer volume decline in 2010 was blamed on several factors, including weak economy and no concert events in Moncton.

Wine sales also increased by 6.1 per cent — to $68.3 million in 2011 from $64.4 million in 2010.

Argentine, Canadian and American wines led the growth, while former popular choices such as Australia and France showed declines in sales.

While cocktail trends have been seen in other places, it seems New Brunswick has been slow to pick up on it. Spirit sales, while up by one per cent, were actually down in volume by 0.6 per cent.

The Crown corporation offers more than 1,875 products, including wines, beers, spirits and coolers.