We are in the midst of summer cottage season. That means long hot days and – for many – a cold beer for some relief. Since being elected last June, our Government has tried to take a common sense approach to issues. Expanding beer and wines sales to convenience stores is one area.
The Beer Store, contrary to common belief, is not government run. It is owned privately by three global beer giants; AB InBev, Sapporo, and Molson-Coors. While beer is also sold in government run LCBOs and, more recently, in select grocery stores, three global giants have owned a near monopoly over beer sales. It has been a sweat-heart deal.
For many Ontarians, and especially Ottawans, this deal just doesn’t make sense. They could cross over into Quebec and pick up one pack at local depanneur, or even at a Costco. Ontario’s system has seemed trapped in the past.
Now, one would assume that the big beer companies would be happy about the chance to sell their product in more places.
You’d be wrong.
These global giants enjoy their near-monopoly because it allows them to set the prices outside normal competition. Because of this, they’re launching a multi-million dollar ad campaign against the government. They claim that hundreds of jobs will be lost and that the Ontario taxpayer will be on the hook for billions of dollars in penalties due to the agreement the previous government made with them.
While there may be some penalties, there won’t be anywhere near a billion dollars. And as for jobs this move is actually expected to create more jobs given the expected boom in sales at the local convenience stores.
Thanks to tobacco sales, convenience stores are already well-prepared to train employees in selling products that require age verification.
That said expect to hear more noise from these global giants as they fight to maintain their sweetheart deal.
We’re are going to stay focused on consumer friendly and common sense changes that will make life a little less more easier for Ontarians.
So, my question this week, are you happy that you’ll now be able to buy beer at convenience stores?