Will Canadian Alcohol Brands Break Through Internationally?

Canadian drinking enthusiasts may be dismayed at rising taxes on alcohol and spirits, but Canadian alcohol brands may be looking to grow business abroad for a multitude of reasons.

Canada is now known as one of the countries with the laxest laws on marijuana after the federal Cannabis Act came into law on October 17, 2018.  Thus, the country is growing a reputation in the marijuana industries as one of the most important countries for developing products and brands related to cannabis.

On the other hand, Canadian alcohol has yet to break through into the international market.  A quick look at the highest grossing alcohol companies shows that Western Europe, the United States, and Japan dominate a large portion of the global market.

According to research, the most popular beer in Canada is even an American product, Budweiser.  Big American beer companies have also announced plans to further enter the Canadian market after the ruling on cannabis in hopes of selling alcohol products infused with cannabis.

But, are there Canadian companies attempting to break through and break this global dominance?

Unfortunately for Canada, much of the beer market has been swallowed up by large American companies and other multinational corporations.  But that does leave room for Canadian companies in other markets.

Perhaps Canada’s biggest hope to break through in the world of alcohol is in whiskey.  One of the top whiskey critics in the world crowned Canada's Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye the World Whisky of The Year, earning a record-high score.

Canadian whiskeys are becoming more popular and several are produced by multinational corporations such as Japanese company Suntory Beverage & Food and England’s Diageo.  These companies rely on Canadian distilleries to produce top quality whiskey.

Also, smaller distilleries are popping up around Canada similar to the trend of beer’s microbreweries.  These smaller establishments typically have less desire to become a massive worldwide name, but they still can produce high-quality products that may soon become popular in America.

Jannik Lindner of canadiangentleman.ca commented on the future of Canadian whiskey, “the new emphasis on whiskey in Canada indicates that foreign companies and consumers are catching on to the popularity of Canadian whiskey.  With whiskey, it is often about presentation, and if companies begin designing their own glasses and accompanying products, these new up-and-comers can really build a strong Canadian brand.”

Canadian whiskey brands will also have to differentiate themselves from American bourbon in order to better infiltrate foreign markets.  The product has to be distilled, fermented and aged in Canada, and it has to contain at least 40% alcohol.

Marketing Canada as a center of whiskey production may seem like a punt, but it would be easier than fighting with the massive corporations in control of much of the beer market.

Toronto has its own quirks when it comes to beer and alcohol, but could the next big drink come out of our city?  It might be wishful thinking, but there might be an enterprising Canadian whiskey seller out there looking to change how the product is viewed on the world stage.


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