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Calls for Corner-Store Beer Sales Quashed, Again

Another attempt to open up beer and wine sales in Ontario, another quick refusal by Queen's Park.

This is where you'll be buying your suds for the foreseeable future  Photo by Ryan, from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

This is where you’ll be buying your suds for the foreseeable future. Photo by Ryan, from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

It’s become a perennial drama: the Ontario Convenience Stores Association drums up publicity for its latest push to convince Queen’s Park to allow beer sales at corner stores, and Queen’s Park responds with a resounding, “Um, no.” The difference on this occasion is that the whole story has unfolded in record time.

The OCSA, an industry group that represents a number of Ontario convenience-store chains, put out a press release yesterday morning saying that it would be announcing a new proposal—something to do with selling Ontario-made craft beer and wine. Presumably, the association is hoping to lure legislators to the negotiating table by promising benefits to local breweries and wineries. We don’t know for sure, though, because the promised announcement hasn’t actually happened yet. It’s scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Despite the fact that the OCSA hasn’t even publicly made its case, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa has already poured cold water (or, cold beer?) on the idea. He preempted the association’s announcement by telling the Canadian Press that the Liberal government definitely won’t be extending alcohol sales to convenience stores, partly because of concerns about private businesses selling booze to minors. Right now, the Progressive Conservatives are the only major Ontario political party actively pushing for beer-sales reform, probably in part because they consider it a crowd-pleasing position. Isn’t it, though?


  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    I don’t care if we can’t buy beer at the corner store, just do something to end the foreign oligarchy known as the Beer Store.

    • tomwest

      Would a domestic oligarchy be better?

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        Actually yes, it would.

        • tomwest

          Oh? Why’s that?

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            At the top of the oligarchic corporate ladder would sit Canadians, employing Canadians all the way down, promoting Canadian-made products and Canadian brands. An oligarchy isn’t ideal, but a domestic one is the lesser of two evils. (I bitch about Rogers and Bell all the time, but I’ll take them over a completely foreign-owned alternative.)

          • Paul Kishimoto

            People who sit at the top of oligarchic corporate ladders are paid handsomely to take no interest in where their products are made or what nation their brands are nominally identified with.

            They will also, except as regulators prevent them, happily sell their corporations to the highest bidder, foreign or not. In fact, the Beer Store was originally an oligarchy of Canadian firms, who all sold themselves to liquor-and-beverage multinationals—et voilà.

            (The only advantage of Roger and Bell being Canadian, and the reason foreign ownership in telecom in particular is limited, is that the government can walk into their offices and force them to do or not do things in the interest of “public safety” or “national security”—because those offices are in Canada.)

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            I don’t care what sort of government regulation/involvement is needed to keep it Canadian, at least it would be Canadian.

      • OgtheDim

        It used to be.

  • Sean_Marshall

    The brewers (at least the big three – ABInBev, Molson Coors and Sapporo) are a very powerful lobbying group looking out for their own interests, which means profits from selling the stuff in the stores they control and from the sales of their products. Of course, the “social responsibility” line is a great one to hide behind.

    They were successful in getting increases on the minimum price of beer a few years ago and continue to push for them every now and then.
    Personally, I don’t care too much about minimum pricing (I generally buy more expensive craft beers anyway) but I’d like to see some honesty.

  • wklis

    Now just put the pacifier in your mouth and go to your room for a timeout.

    • CaligulaJones

      Premier Dad was replaced by Premier Mom…

  • vampchick21

    I actually don’t care. Just please, do not sell that horrible fruit wine I once bought at a supermarket in Myrtle Beach for $2.50.

    Actually, that’s probably a case against selling in convenience stores, the horrible booze that would be sold.

    • CaligulaJones

      What if your horrible is someone’s “ok”? Or vice versa? I would imagine the creepy corner stores in my ‘hood would sell discount knock off horrible fruit wine. I don’t choose to buy their stale chips. I would choose not to buy their wine. Probably.

      • vampchick21

        No one would consider that terrible cheapass fruit wine ok, not even hardcore Thunderbird or MD 20/20 drinkers would like that crap.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    As I said, I don’t really care about getting beer into convenience stores. Besides, the OCSA’s proposal was specifically to put craft beer on the shelves.

  • tomwest

    A free market and “treating us like adults” are not the same thing. Treating us like adults might include allowing drinking in public parks, which is separate from the free market issue.

    Plus, the LCBO generates $2bn in profit for the Province. No proponent of privatisation seems to explain how that will be replaced.

  • vampchick21

    To 21 year old Canadian girls who don’t know any better because they’re 21 years old and on their first ever vacation away from mommy and daddy. And 21. No one said 21 was the age of good judgement in wine.