TORONTO, ON – In a press conference held earlier this afternoon at Queen’s Park, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) – a group that represents several thousand convenience stores in the province – stated that its member stores would give strong support to local beer and wine if the Ontario government were to allow them to sell alcohol.
In a pledge signed by many store chains including Mac’s, 7-Eleven, Petro-Canada, Hasty Market and others, the OCSA has promised that a minimum of 30% of beer and wine shelf space in all member stores would be allocated for craft beer and Ontario wines, with an emphasis on locally made products.
“Convenience stores are local community retailers and we’re perfectly suited to help promote and support Ontario’s local craft breweries and Ontario wineries,” said Dave Bryans, President of the OCSA, in a statement. “Our pledge will mean that, in addition to the space LCBO provides, even smaller Ontario wines and craft beer will have guaranteed access to a large dedicated space in retailers around the province.”
Bryans also noted that “not only does our plan dedicate 30% of space to Ontario craft beer and wines, so they don’t have to fight the big brewers for shelf space, it also allows small craft brewers and Ontario wineries access to a modern, established distribution and logistics system to get their products into stores.”
While the proposal is likely to be welcomed by many of Ontario’s small breweries and winemakers, Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters several hours before the press conference that her government has no plans to expand alcohol sales into convenience stores at this time.
More information on the OCSA’s push to allow alcohol sales in its member stores can be found at freeourbeer.ca