Ontario Approves Regulation to Sell Cider in Grocery Stores
Province Improving How Cider is Sold, Expanding Opportunities for Producers
Following the final recommendations made by the Premier's Advisory Council on Government Assets on February 18, Ontario has approved a regulation to add cider to the beer-in-grocery program and is set to launch cider in grocery stores this summer.
Retail requirements and product restrictions for cider match those in place for the beer. These include social responsibility requirements for staffing, store hours and display, as well as the restrictions for maximum alcohol content, container size and package size.
The 60 grocery stores across Ontario currently authorized to sell beer will be eligible to sell cider.
Like beer, a minimum of 20 per cent of cider on display in grocery stores must be produced by small cideries. A small cidery is one whose annual worldwide cider production does not exceed 25,000 hectolitres, consistent with the provisions in the regulation. This is part of Ontario's commitment to helping small producers thrive.
Process and Timing
The regulation comes into force on June 6, 2016. For the 60 authorized grocery stores, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will issue amended authorizations and the LCBO will issue addenda to the current wholesale supply agreements to allow for the purchase and sale of cider.
Amended authorizations to sell cider will be issued automatically by the AGCO. The LCBO will then give authorized grocers the opportunity to add cider to their wholesale supply agreements by way of addenda.
The first legal selling date for cider for grocers will be June 24, 2016. This is to ensure all grocers have the same opportunity to place orders, receive stock and begin selling on the same timelines. Although authorized grocers may take delivery of cider before June 24, grocers that attempt to sell cider before June 24 will be subject to regulatory action.
The LCBO will hold an information session on April 28, 2016 with interested cideries and agents to help prepare for the launch on June 24, 2016. Interested parties should register at Doing Business with LCBO. The LCBO will contact authorized grocers about participation in an upcoming webinar.
- On February 18, 2016, the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets made its final recommendations to the Ontario government, including to allow the sale of wine, fruit wine and cider in grocery stores.
- Additional to the sale of cider in stores authorized to sell beer, Ontario is moving forward to implement wine sales in grocery stores. The first 70 of 150 universal wine and beer authorizations will be issued this fall, allowing grocers to sell wine, beer, cider and fruit wine.
- There are 19 craft cideries in Ontario.
- Cider is one of the LCBO’s fastest-growing sales categories. Ontario craft cider sales rose by an average of 89 per cent per year from 2011 to 2015.
“Ontario’s craft cider sector is thriving across the province. In fact, cider sales have been the fastest growing product at the LCBO. Allowing cider to be sold in grocery stores will ensure that the sector continues to grow while offering more convenience for consumers and more retail opportunity for small businesses in Ontario.”
“Ontario has a growing craft cider sector and our government is committed to ensuring this sector continues to thrive. By increasing the opportunities for craft cider in grocery stores, we are creating more choice for consumers while supporting a local industry that is creating jobs across Ontario.”