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Ontario Announces First 58 Grocery Store Locations to Sell Beer

News Release

Ontario Announces First 58 Grocery Store Locations to Sell Beer

Delivering More Consumer Choice and Convenience — Just in Time for the Holidays

Office of the Premier

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.

Quick Facts

  • For a map and list of the 58 grocery store locations authorized to sell beer, visit ontario.ca/morechoice. Not every location will have beer available for sale today. Authorizations for two other locations are in process. Please contact individual grocers to confirm availability.
  • Grocers in every region of Ontario showed strong interest in selling beer. The process ensured fairness to grocers in each region.
  • To support Ontario’s vibrant craft beer industry, at least 20 per cent of grocers’ shelf space for beer will be dedicated to small brewers’ products.
  • The Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets consulted extensively with key grocer, brewer and social responsibility stakeholders to define a fair and socially responsible model for beer sales in grocery stores.
  • Ontario has also made significant progress to modernize beer retailing in other ways, such as a pilot of 12-pack sales at 10 LCBO stores; the launch of the first of 25 Craft Beer Zones in LCBO stores; free listings for Ontario brewers in The Beer Store network; and new on-site sales outlets for small brewers.
  • In September, Ontario finalized a series of agreements with The Beer Store to level the playing field for all brewers and create new opportunities for economic growth across the province. The agreements also retain a low-cost distribution system, which means Ontario consumers will continue to pay less for beer than the Canadian average.

Background Information

Additional Resources

Quotes

Kathleen Wynne

“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

Charles Sousa

“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

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