More Details on Ontario Beer Retailing Changes

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TORONTO, ON – Following up on yesterday’s Government of Ontario announcement regarding upcoming changes to the province’s beer retail system, here are some further details that were not reported in the original post here on CBN:

  • Instead of the rumoured $100 million annual “franchise fee” being charged to The Beer Store, the government will instead raise the same amount by phasing in a new beer levy of $1 per 24-pack on all breweries in the province.
  • The Beer Store will invest $100 million dollars over the next four years into infrastructure, with a minimum of 80% to be spent on improvements to its retail stores, and all new stores will be open concept and self-serve.
  • The LCBO will start selling growlers, although full details of that initiative – how many stores, how many brands, what sizes will be offered, whether they will be limited to Ontario craft beers, etc. – are still to be announced.
  • Restaurants and bars that sell less than 250 24-packs of beer a year – approximately 9,000 locations in the province – will now be able to pay consumer prices at The Beer Store rather than higher licensee prices.
  • While not mentioned in the government announcement, the report from the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets recommends dropping the policy that requires  breweries will two facilities to brew at least 25,000 hectolitres annually in order to have a retail shop at both locations.
  • The report also recommends that small brewers “should be allowed to jointly deliver their products to the LCBO and licenced establishments with the ability to use third party carriers and warehousing.”

For more details, see the full Advisory Council report – Striking the Right Balance: Modernizing Beer Retailing and Distribution in Ontario – as well as the following media reports:

Beer to be sold in up to 450 supermarkets (Toronto Star)

Highlights of major Ontario changes include online LCBO sales (Toronto Star)

How the Beer Store bought itself a second chance (Toronto Star)

Help wanted: Independent beer watchdog (Toronto Star)

Beer taxes, the LCBO online and Growlers: Big changes coming to Ontario booze (National Post)

Cheers to Change: Ontario Beer Reform Announced (Torontoist)

Beer fans optimistic about grocery store sales (Toronto Sun)

Local Craft Brewing Companies Cautiously Eye New Beer Sale Regulations (AM980)

Ontario’s new beer strategy has already gone skunky (Globe & Mail)

Beer Store’s brew monopoly goes belly up? (NOW Magazine)

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