TORONTO, ON – In a move that adds even more ammunition to its ongoing PR battle with the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, Ontario’s Beer Store – the retail chain co-owned by Labatt Breweries, Molson Coors Canada, and Sleeman Breweries – has announced that it will be assisting the province’s small contract brewers in getting their products poured at beer festivals and other events this summer.
As reported earlier this month by BlogTO and other media outlets, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has recently started enforcing long-ignored legislation that restricts contract breweries – i.e. brewers that don’t own their own facility, and instead lease capacity at a third party brewery – from selling their beer to events that require a Special Occasion Permit (SOP), a group that includes most beer festivals in the province.
In a press release issued this morning, the Beer Store says that it has “developed a new sales process designed to facilitate the sale of contract brews […] to special occasion permit events in a manner consistent with Ontario’s Liquor Licence Act.”
The release also notes that Les Murray, president of Toronto’s Festival of Beer, and Left Field Brewery, the first contract operation to be affected by the AGCO’s stricter enforcement, were instrumental in triggering the initiative.
Described as a “temporary fix,” the new sales process will be in place until the AGCO is able to revise its policies to fully open SOP sales to contract brewers, a move that is expected to take place sometime after this June’s provincial election.