Beer shoppers in Ontario will soon have another option.
But it might be an option many Ontarians are tired of having—the Beer Store.
Currently, shoppers can buy 4.7 liters of beer from any of three dozen stores.
It’s the same deal in B.C., too.
So what’s different in Ontario?
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Over a long period of time, changes in Ontario have squeezed out specialty local brews that could only be purchased from a specialized brewery.
That’s coming to an end.
The province is working with the Beer Store to create 100 new, locally owned stores that would allow Canadian craft breweries to sell directly to consumers.
The beer giants that own the Beer Store might not welcome that.
The Beer Store is a monopoly business owned by Molson Coors, Labatt, Anheuser-Busch and LCBO.
It has been a thorn in the side of Ontario consumers and small local brewers for years.
But the province has been clear that they want to create a new competitor: a system that is managed by a majority of independent Ontario companies.
The supply agreements between retailers and breweries will give local breweries a bigger share of their business, but the small ones will keep ownership of the business, according to the government’s plan.
At the end of this year, beer lovers in Ontario should get one of those new direct-to-consumer stores.
By the start of the new year, consumers will have three new direct-to-consumer stores, one of which will be directly owned by the LCBO.
Ontario businesses will be rewarded with guaranteed shelf space and guaranteed shelf space in Ontario beer stores if they invest in the new direct-to-consumer store.
When that happens, people will start to see more Canadian craft breweries start to sell their beer direct to consumers.
The Beer Store will still be the place to buy beer, just as it always has been.
They’ll just be selling their beer from the corner store or groceries store.
In Ontario, the dollar is replacing the bottle cap.
And as our home grown brewers finally get a chance to sell their beer directly to consumers, customers will also get a better beer choice.
Keep going with Global News’ coverage of Beer War!
Jenna Li is an Ontario-based reporter who provides insight for Global News’ flagship daily, Canada AM