December 15, 2015
The government is delivering on its promise to allow beer sales in grocery stores by announcing the first 58 locations across the province where Ontarians will be able to buy beer.
Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Finance Charles Sousa announced the 13 independent grocery stores and 45 stores owned by large grocers that are now authorized to sell beer. This is the first round of Ontario’s commitment to make it more convenient for people to buy beer. Ultimately, beer will be available at up to 450 grocery stores provincewide — roughly the same number of locations The Beer Store currently operates in Ontario. Beer in grocery stores is part of the biggest shakeup to beverage alcohol retailing in the province since prohibition was ended in 1927.
Ontario is expanding access responsibly. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which visited all 58 locations as part of the authorization process, will now monitor them to ensure that they adhere to laws on the safe retail of alcohol. These include designated sales areas and hours of sale, limitations to package sizes and alcohol content by volume, and rigorous social responsibility training for staff.
Giving consumers more choice and convenience while creating a more level playing field for brewers is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives and building a secure retirement savings plan.
“Beer is here — in grocery stores just in time for the holidays. As we continue with the largest shakeup to beverage alcohol sales in Ontario since the end of Prohibition, people are going to enjoy increasingly convenient access to their favourite beers and more choice in where they can buy them. We are expanding the availability of beer in a prudent and socially responsible way. Wherever you buy beer, please continue to drink responsibly.”
–– Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
“Ontario’s new beer framework is really opening up opportunities for businesses across the province. From our enthusiastic independent grocers to our dynamic craft brewers — we are enabling innovation and improved convenience and choice across Ontario.”
— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
“Grocery retailers look forward to increasing consumer choice and convenience in a responsible way as Ontario rolls out the sale of beer in grocery stores. Going forward, Ontario shoppers will be able to buy beer in grocery stores across the province and select from a variety of craft and major brand products. Retail Council of Canada will continue to work with our members and the province to ensure that this new initiative is a positive experience for consumers.”
— David Wilkes, Senior Vice-President, Retail Council of Canada
“We’re thrilled that consumers can further support independent grocers by purchasing their favourite beer in our stores, including a selection of beer from small and craft breweries. As beer sales are expanded to more grocery locations, we’re excited about the opportunities that will be created for independent grocers.”
— Gary Sands, Vice-President, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers
“Craft beer lovers can now find local selections in local stores. We look forward to working with grocers to offer a refreshing variety of craft beer from breweries across Ontario. This new distribution channel is part of a set of changes that will create jobs and double or triple Ontario’s craft beer industry.”
— John Hay, President, Ontario Craft Brewers
“Our government is moving forward with a fair and consumer-friendly beer retailing and distribution system that will give consumers more choice, while keeping Ontario’s beer prices below the Canadian average. We are opening up new sales and distribution opportunities for Ontario’s brewers as well as grocers. We look forward to the investments we will see in our local community as a result of those opportunities.”
— MPP Peter Milczyn, Etobicoke-Lakeshore
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