Beer in Ontario Grocery Stores – Looking Beyond the Foam

As a seasoned cross-border shopper and one who has bought their fair share of beer in grocery stores I’m finding the Ontario Governments capitulation to the masses and approach to let the consumer buy their beer where and when they want very interesting. Lets look at the what is going on…



Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government will auction off licences to sell beer and wine in about 300 supermarkets with no single grocer allowed to buy more than a quarter of them.

Now when I have been to an auction there are two parties that ultimately win; the highest bidder always and the seller. Depending on how the auction is done you can expect that Walmart, Costco, Loblaws, Metro and Sobey’s will be the “winners”.

As a “winner” I now have a substantial investment in my “licence”. Next I have to decide what items that I’m not going to sell in my store because I need the floorspace for beer. Will Wynne make me segregate the beer from the rest of the products? If I’m open 24 Hrs can someone “sneak” into the beer section after the permitted selling hours? OMG what if a father or mother says to their underage child “grab us a dozen Bud and put it in the cart” will Wynne revoke my license? Next I need to make sure that I’m complying with the laws of Ontario in that no one under the age of 19 can sell beer so I’ll have to dedicate checkout lines for customers with beer in their basket, oh what if all they need is beer? Then I better also have a couple of “Beer Express Lines”. Next I need to make sure that all my employees are Smart Serve trained and, and, and….I have targets, quota’s and shareholders to answer to – how can I do this? I know I’ll charge $50.00 for a 24! I’m sure if I discuss this with all the other license “winners” they will be all for it. And the government wont care because they will get additional tax revenue. The Canadian consumer may complain a bit but they will get over it, they always do.

Whew! I knew it wouldn’t be a problem!



Well there is one person in the Government who’s not afraid to tell it like it is – Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli (Nipissing) said the reforms are not about consumer convenience. “This is a cash grab to help the government with its huge deficit . . . it’s not about whether it’s good or bad for the consumer. That’s not their motivation in all of this,” said Fedeli.

About 2sidesof49

This Blog is for all Canadian Cross-Border Shoppers wanting to maximize their returns on their U.S. shopping trips. Visit for tips and tricks and links to our partners websites, blogs and products. Also check out my book The Canadian Cross-Border Shopping Guide - guaranteed to save you money!
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