Toronto, Ontario – The Ford government released their budget and announced plans to expand the sale of beer and wine to corner stores, big box stores and more grocery stores.
The Province is improving choice and convenience for consumers, and opportunities for businesses, as part of its ongoing alcohol modernization process that will treat adults like adults. This is why the government plans to expand the sale of beer and wine to corner stores, big box stores and more grocery stores. The government is moving forward with early wins for the people, such as creating a tailgating permit for eligible sporting events, introducing legislation to let municipalities make rules about alcohol consumption in public spaces, such as parks, and extending hours of alcohol service at licensed establishments, allowing them to start serving alcohol at 9 a.m.
The Star had reported that breaking the province’s existing 10-year agreement with the Beer Store could cost taxpayers $100 million in penalties.
Finance Minister Vic Fedeli emphasized the province has no plans to sell off its lucrative Liquor Control Board of Ontario monopoly, which operates 660 outlets and about 210 rural agency stores.
“This is a great budget for craft beer lovers,” says Scott Simmons, President, Ontario Craft Brewers. “Ontario has some of the best craft beer in the world, unfortunately, the current retail environment has simply made it too hard to find. We are thrilled that the Ford government is finally changing that and today’s measures are another great step in that direction.”
The announcement builds on other recent measurements, such as halting scheduled tax hikes to keep beer prices affordable, and extending sales hours at taprooms, and retail outlets that have made it easier for craft beer drinkers to find their favourite beer. These changes, in turn, will go a long way to helping Ontario’s locally-owned craft breweries succeed, which will continue to drive economic growth across the province. Ontario’s craft beer industry now employs over 2,200 people with quality, local jobs across Ontario, especially in rural and northern communities, and have helped generate over 9,000 additional indirect jobs in additional tourism, construction, and agriculture opportunities local craft breweries bring. All told, Ontario’s craft beer sector generates almost $2 billion in economic growth each year and today’s changes are another step in helping them further grow and succeed.
“We applaud the Ford government for today’s budget, while working to expand consumer choice by making craft beer available in more places” adds Simmons. “These reforms to Ontario’s beverage alcohol system, which are long overdue, will mean more choice and access to locally-made craft beer on more local shelves; as well as even more jobs and investment by local craft breweries in the communities they call home.”