The first grocers to be eligible to sell beer in Ontario grocery stores were announced today, as the province makes the next step towards more convenience and choice for Ontario consumers. In the biggest changes to beverage alcohol retailing in almost 90 years, Ontario is continuing progress toward the sale of beer in up to 450 grocery store locations provincewide.
“We are moving quickly to ensure that beer will be sold in grocery stores in a socially responsible manner. Using the existing low-cost distribution system keeps Ontario’s beer prices below the Canadian average while offering greater ability to fund key government services and programs that people rely on.” said, Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
The winning bidders, coming from locations across Ontario, were selected via a competitive bidding process. To move forward with selling beer, these companies will apply to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to seek authorization for individual store locations. Upon completion of that review, up to 60 grocery store locations could be authorized to sell beer by December 2015.
Reflecting the mix of independent and large grocers and geographic representation as set in regulation to ensure fairness, the successful bidders are:
Coppa’s Fresh Market
Farm Boy 2012 Inc.
Hanahreuem Mart Inc.
J & B La Mantia Ltd. (La Mantia’s Country Market)
Longo Brothers Fruit Market Inc.
Metro Ontario Inc.
Michael-Angelos Market Place Inc.
Pino’s Get Fresh
Sobeys Capital Incorporated
Starsky Fine Foods Hamilton Inc.
Wal-Mart Canada Corp.
To ensure fairness, grocers cannot discuss any aspect of the process until it concludes in December.
While initial winning bids have been selected, the bid process for grocery stores remains active until the AGCO’s authorization processes and agreements are complete with the LCBO. If any of the successful bidders fail to become authorized, additional bidders could move forward according to the same initial bidding process.
While offering consumers more convenience and choice, Ontario maintains a strong commitment to social responsibility. By law, these grocers will have to abide by the requirements for the safe retail of alcohol, including designated sales areas and restricted hours of sale, limitations to package sizes and alcohol by volume, and rigorous staffing and social responsibility training requirements. The AGCO will have oversight for these and other requirements.
Unlocking value through more convenience and improved choice for consumers is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives and building a secure retirement savings plan.
The Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets conducted extensive industry consultations with key grocer, brewer and social responsibility stakeholders to define a fair and socially responsible model for beer sales in grocery stores.
Since April 2015, Ontario has made significant progress on beer retailing. Initiatives include a pilot of 12-pack sales at 10 LCBO stores, launching the first of 25 Craft Beer Zones in existing LCBO stores across Ontario, free listings for Ontario brewers in the Beer Store network of stores and new on-site sales outlets for small brewers.
In September 2015 the province finalized a series of new agreements with the Beer Store, levelling the playing field for all brewers and creating new opportunities for economic growth across the province, while retaining a low-cost distribution system that means Ontario consumers will continue to pay less for beer than the Canadian average.