Alcohol will be sold in some convenience stores this fall in Ontario

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Published May 24, 2024 at 11:55 am

alcohol convenience stores ontario

Ontario residents will soon be able to pick up a bottle of wine or beer at their corner convenience store but the province is also paying up to $225 million to The Beer Store to support the change.

The Ontario government announced several changes to expand the province’s alcohol beverage marketplace.

In December, the province announced beer and wine would be sold in corner stores by 2026, but today (May 24), Premier Doug Ford announced changes are coming sooner than expected.

“In the coming weeks and months, people in Ontario, like many Canadians across the country, will have the option to responsibly and conveniently purchase a case of beer or a bottle of wine on their way up to the cottage or to a summer barbecue, all while having even more opportunity to support local Ontario breweries and wineries,” Ford said.

Starting on Aug. 1, people will be able to purchase new products like coolers and other ready-to-drink beverages alongside more pack sizes at grocery stores that currently sell wine or beer.

The up to 450 grocery stores that are currently licensed to sell beer, cider or wine will also be able to sell ready-to-drink beverages. These grocery stores will also be able to sell large-pack sizes like the 30-pack that is popular in Quebec.

Then, after Sept. 5, all eligible convenience stores will be able to sell beer, cider, wine and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages.

And finally, after Oct. 31, all eligible grocery and big-box stores will be able to sell beer, cider, wine and ready-to-drink beverages, including in large pack sizes.

Individual retailers and businesses will make their own decisions about how they participate and when.

As part of its agreement with The Beer Store, the Ontario government is providing The Beer Store with up to $225 million to make the necessary investments over the next 19 months to support the transition, the province announced.

The funds will help protect jobs across the province and to keep The Beer Store locations open for the continued availability of recycling and bottle returns.

The Beer Store and LCBO will continue to operate with The Beer Store offering distribution, recycling and retail sales. The Beer Store will continue to run the province-wide recycling program for alcoholic beverage containers until at least 2031.

The LCBO will remain a public asset and will continue to operate as a wholesaler and a retailer. Beverages such as vodka, gin and whisky will continue to be sold exclusively through the LCBO network.

The government is also providing $10 million over five years to support social responsibility and public health efforts to ensure alcohol continues to be sold and consumed safely in the expanded marketplace.

Existing requirements related to staff training, minimum pricing, hours of sale and warning signs will be maintained and applied to all new retail outlets.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will take strong measures concerning social responsibility infractions as part of its continued role in the new marketplace.

If a retailer’s licence is revoked or an application is denied, they cannot reapply for two years.

For more information on the changes, see the province’s website here.

Lead photo: Rana M

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