According to an American alcohol council, some Canadians are getting more selective with their alcohol these days. They found that Canadians love American alcohol and are buying it like crazy. US alcohol imports to Canada are on the rise. On top of that, there's a Drake connection to this shift to American alcohol.
A lot of Canadians are ditching the idea of buying alcohol just based on price and are instead looking to buy based on the quality. That sentiment is leading those Canadian consumers to our neighbours to the south.
"American whiskey has surpassed Scotch in popularity at my bar. Despite emerging competition from other slow-sipper spirits, demand for bourbon and American whiskeys has not slowed down and continues to grow," said Jonathan Neill, head bartender at Ritz Bar at The Ritz-Carlton in Toronto, in a press release.
It's not just the Ritz Bar either. In 2018, Canada was the number one export market for all U.S. spirits according to the United States International Trade Commission.
The overall U.S. spirit exports to Canada were worth more than CA$311 million, which was a 16.6% increase from 2017. Also in that year, Canada imported more than CA$66 million worth of American whiskey alone.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States believes that it's quite possible Drake had a role in Canadians turning to American alcohol, mentioning in their news release that the Toronto singer launched a premium American bourbon whiskey brand.
Drake's Virginia Black whiskey brand launched back in 2016 and set records at the LCBO when 1,779 bottles were sold on the first day alone. The whiskey brand went on to sell 4,650 bottles in the first week.
"With more selection and accessibility to American whiskey, Canadians are more willing to try new things in cocktail recipes," said Neill.
Import statistics show that Canadians are all about bourbon, Tennessee whiskey, and the American single malt when it comes to purchasing American alcohol.
So while there are some pretty good Canadian-made alcohols, it seems that Canadians prefer to get their alcohol from America.