Nearly 300 new beverage alcohol retail outlets planned
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2019
Bay of Quinte – Todd Smith, Bay of Quinte MPP and Ontario’s Government House Leader and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade announced that rural communities in and near his riding will benefit from the Province’s effort to expand choice and convenience in beverage alcohol sales.
Today, Smith revealed that Bay of Quinte communities Bayside and Carrying Place, as well as neighbouring areas like Foxboro, Roslin, Shannonville, and Wooler, have been named eligible to host some of the nearly 300 new retail locations planned across the province.
“This is good news for consumers looking to purchase their favourite drinks closer to home,” Smith said. “It also provides an opportunity for economic development in our rural communities and greater reach and visibility for craft beer, wine and cider producers across Ontario and right in our backyard.”
Smith said the government’s Open for Business, Open for Jobs approach focuses on promoting competition and establishing fairness for everyone from those small craft producers to large beer and wine producers.
The communities are among approximately 200 underserviced communities identified by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) as it expands its agency store program. The programs stores have been rebranded as LCBO Convenience Outlets. Under the process, the LCBO will release a request for proposals in each new community and all businesses applicants that meet requirements for authorization will be entered into a lottery to win the local authorization. Up to 60 stores are expected to open in August, up to 150 are expected to open by December and the additional stores are slated to open in spring 2020.
Also today, Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli announced that 87 more grocery stores will also be authorized to sell wine, beer, and cider, bringing the total number to 450. Interested grocers can apply to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to enter a lottery process for authorization. Successful grocers entering into a wholesale supply agreement with the LCBO will be expected to start selling beverage alcohol in September.
Fedeli said today’s announcements are the first step in expanding the range of choices available to adult consumers, allowing them to make the responsible choices that work for them.
“Whether driving to the cottage or running errands, consumers across Ontario will now have more places to pick up beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages,” Fedeli said. “Our government is committed to delivering greater choice and convenience to individuals and families, and this expansion is just the beginning.”
- Ken Hughes, Special Advisor for the Beverage Alcohol Review, recently released a report detailing the inconvenience and unfairness of the current system for everyday Ontario consumers. A key recommendation was to allow more businesses to provide choice and convenience by expanding the number of LCBO agency stores and allowing alcohol to be sold in more grocery stores.
- Ontario has fewer stores that can sell alcohol than any other province when compared against population size. There are over 8,000 retail stores in Quebec selling alcohol, but less than 3,000 in Ontario.
- To date, the government has increased choice and convenience and saved consumers money by:
o Letting sports fans drink alcohol at tailgating parties at eligible sporting events.
o Enabling municipalities to make rules about alcohol consumption in public spaces like parks.
o Extending hours of alcohol service at licensed establishments, allowing them to start serving alcohol at 9 a.m.
o Letting the Beer Store, LCBO and other authorized retailers, such as grocery stores and agency stores, sell alcohol from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.
o Changing advertising rules to allow for “happy hour” in Ontario.
o Providing flexibility for wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries to promote their products at manufacturing sites by removing the prescribed serving sizes for “by the glass” licences.
o Pausing beer and wine tax hikes initiated by the previous government.
o Lowering the price floor to allow brewers to sell beer for $1 (Buck-a-beer).
List of new communities eligible to host LCBO Convenience Outlets: