Blog: Andy MortonProhibition hangover lingers despite Ontario's shift

Andy Morton | 18 December 2015

This week, consumers in Ontario were able to go into a supermarket and buy beer.

It may not sound like much (and the supermarket had to one of just 48 outlets that were allowed alcohol sales) but in Canada, where almost all provinces operate a monopoly on wines, beer and spirits retail, it was groundbreaking.

It is still too early to tell if this is the beginning of the end of Ontario's liquor control board, but plans are in place to increase the number of supermarkets and independent retailers that can sell beer. Progress, then, of sorts.

The Ontario thaw, however, is a reminder that not all areas of North America are scaling back restrictive alcohol sales policies fossilised in place since the end of Prohibition in the 1920s.

This week, two court attempts in Indiana to overturn state laws on alcohol came to their conclusion. In one, distributor Monarch Beverage Co invoked the US Constitution in its fight against a statute that stops it from selling both beer and liquor.

Elsewhere, an appeals court upheld an Indiana law that prohibits gas stations and convenience store selling cold beer.

Both lost.

It seems there is still a long way to go before alcohol retailers can shake of their 90-year-old Prohibition hangover.

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