Alcohol Consumption in Central America

Panama is the country where the highest proportion of beer consumption was reported with respect to total alcohol consumed, with 77%, followed by Costa Rica and Guatemala, with 64% and 56%, respectively.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018, published by the World Health Organization (WHO), details statistics up to 2016 on consumption of alcoholic beverages in different countries.

According to the report, consumption of distilled beverages in Central American countries, which include rum, whiskey, vodka, brandy, cognac and some digestives, account for 59% of the total alcohol consumed in Nicaragua. In Honduras, the proportion was 52%, in El Salvador 51%, in Guatemala 42%, in Costa Rica 28% and in Panama 19%. 

See "Alcoholic beverages: Imports Up 3% in 2017"

In regards to beer consumption, the document details that in Panama this accounts for 77% of the total demand for alcohol, in Costa Rica the percentage reaches 64%, in Guatemala 56%, in El Salvador 48%, in Honduras 47% and in Nicaragua 40%

See also "Beer in Central America: Imports Grow"

The report highlights that in Costa Rica 7% of alcoholic beverages consumed are wines, in Panama the proportion for this drink is 4%, in Guatemala 2%, and in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras it is 1%.  

See also "Central America bought more wines in 2017"

Summary table of the percentages for the distribution of alcohol consumption by type in the Central American countries, in 2016.


Destilled BeveragesBeer
Costa Rica28%64%7%
El Salvador51%48%1%
Guatemala42%56%1%
Honduras52%47%1%
Nicaragua59%40%1%
Panama19%77%4%




See Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018.

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More on this topic

Alcoholic Beverages: Production Falls 6% in 2019

January 2020

During 2019, the production of alcoholic beverages in the country was 285 million liters, 6% less than the same period in 2018.

The most recent data published by the General Comptroller of the Republic, states that the production of alcoholic beverages in general reported a decline, from 302 million liters in 2018, to 285 million liters in 2019.

Beer: Production Decreases 3%

October 2019

From January to August 2019, the production of alcoholic beverages in Panama was 194 million liters, and beer production fell 3% compared to the same period in 2018.

According to figures from the General Comptroller of the Republic, the production of alcoholic beverages in general reported a decline, reducing from 199.8 million liters from January to August 2018, to 193.9 million liters in the same period of 2019.

Alcoholic Beverages: Production drops 5% up to July 2018

August 2018

In the first seven months of 2018, production of alcoholic beverages in Panama amounted to 172.9 million liters, 5% less than in the same period in 2017.

According to the most recent data from the Comptroller General of the Republic, production of alcoholic beverages in general reported a decrease, falling from 182.3 million liters from January to July 2017, to 172.9 million liters in the same period in 2018.  

Consumption of Spirits and Wines Growing in Costa Rica

November 2014

Between 2009 and 2013 sales of wine in the country increased by 77%, followed by vodka, which increased by 43%, whiskey 38% and rum 31%.  

In 2013 wine came top in terms of import volumes, with a total of 9,256 tons. At the same time, its distribution in bars, restaurants, liquor stores and supermarkets during the same period grew by 32%.

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