N.S. products boost NSLC sales

Nearly three per cent growth thanks to Maritime spirits, beer and wine

Nova Scotian products helped boost Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation sales by almost three per cent last quarter compared to the same period in 2016.

The NSLC released figures Tuesday showing that sales were up $4.7 million from Oct. 2 to Dec. 31, with Nova Scotia-made products accounting for $2.8 million of that.

Total sales for the corporation for the quarter were $165.7 million. Nova Scotia product sales were $16 million.

Among products made in the province spirits saw the biggest percentage sales jump, rising almost 60 per cent to $2 million. Craft beer sales were up 48.6 per cent to $3.2 million, while Nova Scotia wine sales using locally grown grapes grew by 22.6 per cent to $3.5 million. Ready-to-drink products, mostly ciders made with local apples, increased by 37.8 per cent to $1 million.

NS commercial wine sales (those produced here without local grapes) were up 1.1 per cent to $6.3M.

Net income for the quarter was $65.5 million, up $700,000.

NSLC spokeswoman Beverly Ware said the corporation doesn’t have a target for sales of Nova Scotia-made products, but “we’re committed to supporting local products.”

She said craft beer and spirits sales were expected to be good over the Christmas season.

“We saw really good growth in those categories when customers are discovering the quality and the variety of the local offerings that we have,” she said.

The large percentage increases in sales of Nova Scotia products is not just a matter of seeing more items on the shelves as new breweries, distilleries and wineries open up, Ware said.

“We’re continuing to see strong and growing sales in the local products that have been popular all along, and in addition to that we’re happy to carry new craft beers and that sort of thing,” she said.

Evan MacEachern, the director of sales at Nova Scotia Spirit Co. in Pictou County, said it’s nice to see local products having increased sales.

“I think that the more local products we have coming in, the more it benefits everybody,” he said. “People try one local product and they’re more apt to lean toward trying somebody else’s on the next visit to the store, so I think we help each other out.”

He said growth in sales could also encourage more breweries, distilleries and wineries to set up, and shows people know that the products being made here are good quality.

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