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New Craft Beer Zones Launching Across Ontario

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New Craft Beer Zones Launching Across Ontario

Craft Beer Tapped at LCBO’s First Growler Station

Ministry of Finance

The LCBO is marking the launch of its Craft Beer Zones with a unique growler station at the Summerhill LCBO store in Toronto, enhancing choice for Ontario's consumers.

With plans to open in 25 LCBO locations provincewide, the Craft Beer Zones are innovative new marketing displays that highlight the Province's work to increase market exposure for small and craft brewers. These zones will bring together Ontario, Canadian and international craft beers, grouped by style.

The new growler station at the Summerhill LCBO will feature three Ontario craft beers. "Growlers" are reusable glass containers that hold 1.89 litres (almost 6 bottles) of freshly-dispensed beer straight from the keg. To enhance the overall craft beer experience, consumers can also sample the featured brands for a nominal fee.

The Craft Beer Zones will enhance the consumer experience while increasing exposure and enabling growth for craft brewers. The Summerhill growler station will further elevate the profile of craft beer by offering product unavailable in any other format at the LCBO.

Providing more convenience and improved choice for consumers and better market access for small 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. 

Quick Facts

  • Craft beer is the LCBO’s fastest growing beer category. Sales exceeded $68 million in 2014-2015, up 36 per cent from the previous year.
  • Approximately 70 Ontario craft brewers sell product via the LCBO network.
  • Growler bottles are reusable and can be exchanged for a fresh growler or returned in good condition for a $5 refund.
  • The Craft Beer Zones demonstrate further progress on beer retailing since the release of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets’ report in April 2015. Other developments include the introduction of the 12-pack pilot at the LCBO, free listings for Ontario brewers in the Beer Store network of stores, and new on-site sales outlets for small brewers.
  • In the biggest change to beverage alcohol retailing since the repeal of Prohibition, Ontario is expanding beer sales to up to 450 grocery store locations across the province. This will give Ontarians more convenience and choice, while maintaining a strong commitment to social responsibility. Up to 150 grocery stores will be authorized to sell beer by May 2017.
  • The responsible sale of beverage alcohol is a public trust that LCBO takes very seriously. In 2014-15, LCBO employees challenged 13.5 million customers. Out of that, 439,000 were refused service; 88 per cent for reasons of age.

Additional Resources


“By providing access to new products, the Craft Beer Zones and the Summerhill growler station will provide greater choice for Ontarians while supporting growth for brewers. Initiatives like this help the LCBO generate significant annual revenue, which the government uses to fund key services like health care, hospitals, education and infrastructure.”

Charles Sousa

Minister of Finance

“As a longstanding supporter of Ontario craft beer, we are pleased to bring our customers a new experience at Summerhill. The growler station provides the freshest beer possible – straight from keg to bottle. In total we will open 25 Craft Beer Zones in existing LCBO stores, increasing exposure to Ontario and Canada’s craft breweries and international favourites.”

Bob Peter

LCBO President and CEO

“Ontario Craft Brewers is thrilled that the Ontario government continues to make changes to enhance beer retailing in this province, and is honoured to participate in the Craft Beer Zone. This is yet another opportunity for craft brewers to expand our market reach and grow our businesses.”

Cam Heaps

Chair, Ontario Craft Brewers

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