Alcohol Consumption on the Rise

Statistics from Canada, US and the Baltics

Although alcohol consumption in Lithuania is increasing according to a NielsenIQ survey,  more people drink occasionally and a wider variety of beverages. A similar situation has developed in Latvia and Estonia, according to the market research company. None of the statistics in the BNS report were directly tied to the crisis caused by COVID-19.

The survey shows that the number of alcohol consumers has increased compared to a few years ago. Lithuania is no longer ranked by the World Health Organization as number one in Europe in terms of alcohol consumption per capita. This year’s survey shows that 29% of the Lithuanian population aged between 20 and 64 years consumed alcohol at least once a week, up from 27%  in 2018, 65% at least once a month, up from 62%, and 92% at least once a year, up from 88%. In Latvia and Estonia, the percentage of those consuming alcohol at least once a week is slightly higher than in Lithuania, but the other two figures are slightly lower. 

Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in Lithuania, with at least 35% of 20-64-year-olds choosing it at least once a month, followed closely by wine (33 %). The top five list also includes whiskey (13%), brandy (12%) and vodka (11%). Latvians drink wine, bitters and cognac more often, and cider and gin are more popular in Estonia.  

The CBC reports that according to a study conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, shortly after the pandemic began, seven out of ten Canadians were at home more. And of those people, two out of ten reported an increase in their drinking — for different reasons. Researcher Dr. Seonaid Nolan says that women were more likely to cite stress as the predominant reason for an increase in their alcohol consumption, while men reported an increase in their alcohol consumption mainly as a result of boredom.

A new study from Sunnybrook Hospital and University of Toronto researchers reveals that examination of alcohol sales and alcohol-related emergencies throughout Ontario found alcohol purchases increased by more than $250 million (roughly $2 million a day) in the first four months of the pandemic compared to the same time in 2019. This dramatic jump indicates that social isolation, financial strain, and anxiety caused by the pandemic may have led to increased alcohol use.

In the US, during the first few weeks of lockdowns, alcohol sales jumped 54% over the previous year. A September 2020 study found  that alcohol consumptions was up by 14% compared to 2019.

Info from BNS, CBC, Sunnybrook, Boston University