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Investing in beer stocks

Consumer demand tends to be strong in down markets but legalized cannabis may threaten profits.

Even in a bear market, alcohol stocks tend to do well. But the growing legalization of cannabis poses a serious threat to this industry.

What are beer stocks?

Beer stocks are stocks from beer-producing companies. But companies that exclusively produce beer — also called pure play investments — are rare in the beer category. That’s because most publicly traded companies that offer exposure to the beer market also produce other beverages, like wine, spirits and soft drinks.

Beer stocks are typically considered a “sin stock”: stocks from companies that produce products that may be considered unethical. Sin stocks usually include the following industries:

  • Adult products and entertainment
  • Alcohol
  • Gambling
  • Tobacco
  • Weapons

Sin stocks are difficult to define, because what constitutes a sin stock in one country may not qualify as a sin stock in another. Whether or not you choose to add sin stocks to your portfolio depends on your risk tolerance and personal investment preferences.

How do I buy Beer stocks?

  1. Choose a stock trading platform. If you’re a beginner, our table below can help you choose.
  2. Open your account. You’ll need to provide your ID, bank account information and Social Security number.
  3. Fund your account. Before you can start trading, you’ll need to fund your account with a bank transfer.
  4. Search for stocks. Use a stock screener to sort and filter stocks.
  5. Submit your order. Once you’ve found a security you’d like to buy, indicate how many you’d like to purchase and submit your order.
  6. Monitor your investments. Log in to your brokerage account to track the performance of your portfolio.

Beer stocks

You can purchase beer stocks from companies based in Canada, the US and other countries. If you’re interested in investing in global beer stocks, you’ll find some listed on Canadian and US exchanges, while others must be purchased over-the-counter.

Beer stocks

  • Big Rock Brewery Inc. (TSX: BR)
  • Waterloo Brewing Ltd. (TSX: WBR)
  • Molson Coors Beverage Company (TSX: TPX-B)(NYSE: TAP)
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE: BUD)
  • Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ)
  • Diageo plc (NYSE: DEO)
  • The Boston Beer Company, Inc. (NYSE: SAM)
  • Ambev S.A. (NYSE: ABEV)
  • China Resources Beer (Holdings) Company Limited (HKSE: 0291.HK)
  • Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (OTC Markets, Pink Sheets: TBVPF)
  • Heineken N.V. (OTC Markets, Pink Sheets: HEINY)
  • Carlsberg A/S (OTC Markets, Pink Sheets: CABGY)

What ETFs track the beer industry?

While there are no ETFs dedicated entirely to tracking the beer market, there are some ETFs with limited exposure to alcohol stocks.

  • AdvisorShares Vice ETF (NYSEARCA: VICE)
  • Fidelity MSCI Consumer Staples Index ETF (NYSEARCA: FSTA)
  • iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF (NYSEARCA: KXI)
  • Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA: XLP)
  • Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (NYSEARCA: VDC)

Exchange traded funds (ETFs)

Why invest in beer stocks?

Beer — like most other alcoholic beverages — tends to enjoy consistent consumer demand. For this reason, some experts suggest beer stocks are a recession-proof investment that typically performs well in a down market.

Another benefit of investing in beer stocks is the stable profits many beer companies enjoy. The regulatory risks that dominate this market make it challenging for startups to enter. As a result, low competition lends itself to stable profits for companies and reliable dividends for shareholders.

Risks of investing in beer

An emerging market disruptor has begun to threaten the alcohol industry: cannabis. Cannabis consumption is on the rise since it was legalized in Canada in 2018. Statista reports that the global cannabis sector was worth $13.8 billion in 2018. But by 2025, the sector is expected to swell to $43 billion.

Now, the growth of one sector doesn’t necessarily detract from another. However, a study by Beer Canada found that beer sales went down by 3% in the year following the legalization of cannabis. Another study published in 2020 found that alcohol consumption among US college students is lower in states where cannabis is legal. On the other hand, Statista reports that global alcohol consumption has increased between 2017 and 2021.

Compare trading platforms

To invest in beer stocks, you’ll need a brokerage account. Compare your options below. Bear in mind that not all Canadian trading platforms offer access to US stock exchanges like the NYSE and the NASDAQ. Check out our guide on buying US stocks from Canada to learn more about your options.

Name Product Available Asset Types Stock Fee Option Fee Account Fee ETF Transaction Cost Feature Table description
Wealthsimple Trade
Stocks, ETFs
Get 2 free stocks when you open a Wealthsimple Trade personal account and deposit and trade at least $150.
Pay no commissions when you trade Canadian stocks and ETFs with Wealthsimple Trade.
Interactive Brokers
Stocks, Bonds, Options, ETFs, Currencies, Futures
Min. $1.00, Max. 0.5% of trade value
$1.50 min. per order
Min. $1.00, Max. 0.5% of trade value
Extensive trading capabilities and global investment tracking.
Access market data 24 hours a day, six days a week and invest in global stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds from one single account.
BMO InvestorLine
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs
$9.95 + $1.25 per options contract
$0 if conditions met, otherwise $25/quarter
$0 - $9.95
Buy and sell a select group of Canada’s most popular ETFs without paying commissions.
An easy-to-use online trading platform with access to research, tools, and the option to access InvestorLine adviceDirect for additional professional support.
Scotia iTRADE
Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs, International Equities
$9.99 + $1.25 contract ($4.99 + $1.25 contract if completed 150 trades or more a quarter)
$9.99 ($4.99 if completed 150 trades or more a quarter)
Pay no annual account fees.
Buy, sell and trade ETFs, Equities, Options and more with competitive commissions.
CIBC Investor's Edge
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs
$4.95 - $6.95
$4.95 - $6.95 (+$1.25 per contract)
$0 if conditions met, otherwise $100/year
$4.95 - $6.95 is applicable for online stock, ETF and option trades only. Pay $4.95 when you qualify as an Active Trader (trade 150+ times per quarter).
An intuitive and easy-to-use platform with access to a variety of tools that help you make smart decisions and trade with confidence.
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs, International Equities, Precious Metals
$9.95 + $1 per contract
Get $50 in free trades when you fund your account with a minimum of $1,000.
Opt for self-directed investing and save on fees or get a pre-built portfolio and take some of the guesswork out.
Qtrade Direct Investing
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs
$6.95 - $8.75
$6.95 - $8.75 + $1.25 per contract
$0 if conditions met, otherwise $25/quarter
$0 - $8.75
Get up to 50 free trades. Be one of the first 100 new Qtrade clients to use the promo code 50FREETRADES and deposit a minimum of $10,000 (or top up to $15,000 to get $150 transfer fees waived). Valid until December 31, 2021.
Qtrade Direct Investing offers low trading commissions and an easy-to-use platform with access to powerful tools and a wide selection of investment options. Trade 100 ETFs free of charge and thousands more for $8.75 or lower.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

The beer market tends to perform with consistency, even in a down market. But consider the risks posed by the growing legalization of cannabis before you invest in this popular sin stock.

You’ll need a brokerage account before you can invest. Review your account options with multiple trading platforms before you make a decision.

Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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