It seems New Brunswick residents aren’t drinking as much beer as they used to, and those who sell it are trying to figure out why.

In-store beer sales at NB Liquor are down 7.5 per cent in the year’s first quarter, which equals a loss of $4.4-million on the bottom line.

“Beer sales are down but a big reason for that is attributed to provincial wide sales last year, which included a lot of people buying beer and a lot of customers in the store,” NB Liquor spokesperson Marcelle Saulnier.

Still, static or declining beer sales have become a trend, which Saulnier admits is troubling for the Crown corporation.

“Beer is over half of our business and we are trying to reinvigorate the category,” she says.

NB Liquor introduced five discount brand beers in an effort to boost sales and a variety of brewers have tried to entice new customers by offering more flavoured brews.

Saulnier says that above all, NB Liquor is listening to its customers.

“We do have customer surveys. We just finished another one, so those results will definitely be looked at.”

NB Liquor has also been looking towards privatization and a decision was made to increase the amount of private sector involvement, with up to 15 new rural stores expected to pop up beginning in the fall.

While complete privatization is out of the question for now, some visiting beer drinkers to the area say it has worked in their favour.

“I can only speak on what’s worked in Alberta and privatizing the liquor stores has definitely made an impact,” says one Alberta resident.

While the sale of beer and spirits declined, wine sales grew according to the report.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore