Beer goes on sale in Ontario grocery stores
Consumers in Ontario are now allowed to buy beer from grocery stores, as the state government continues to relax alcohol monopoly laws.
Thirteen independent grocery stores and 45 supermarkets were authorised to sell beer from yesterday, authorities said. The move was the first step in the state government's efforts to make it "more convenient for people to buy beer", with 450 stores eventually expected to be included.
Authorities said beer in grocery stores is part of the "biggest shakeup to beverage alcohol retailing in the province since prohibition was ended in 1927".
Off-trade sales are tightly controlled in Ontario and previously only stores operated by the government-owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and the corporate-owned The Beer Store were allowed to sell beer, wines or spirits. The Beer Store is a joint-venture between Anheuser-Busch InBev, Molson Coors and Sapporo. Producers can also sell their products in their own stores.
The new changes are intended to free up space in the LCBO or The Beer Store for the growing number of smaller brewers in Ontario. The plans, first announced in April, include a minimum 20% shelf space for small brewers in The Beer Store network and a pledge to return The Beer Store to its "original co-operative roots by opening up ownership to the Ontario beer industry".
The announcement marks a change for Ontario's alcohol authorities, who had previously resisted efforts to loosen the alcohol monopoly first put in place in 1916. In 2012, convenience store retailers were thwarted in efforts to allow sales in their premises.
To view the 58 stores where beer is available, click here.
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