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Beer Poll

Significant majority of Ontarians support proposal to have large convenience stores and grocery stores sell beer under the LCBO banner

Significant majority of Ontarians support proposal to have large convenience stores and grocery stores sell beer under the LCBO banner (CNW Group/Ontario Convenience Stores Association)

OAKVILLE, - A new poll of Ontarians, conducted by Abacus Data Inc., revealed that 72% support a proposal that would see an expansion of the LCBO's Agency Store program to allow for more private retailers, like chain convenience stores, to sell beer and compete with The Beer Store. The survey showed that only 15% opposed the idea and 13% had no opinion.

Established in 1962, the LCBO's Agency Store program provides retail access "in a cost-efficient and socially responsible manner to beverage alcohol consumers."1 The proposal put forward to the Ontario Government by the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) would see the creation of 'LCBO Beer Agency Stores' where private retailers, including convenience stores, could apply for authorization to sell beer – all under the oversight and scrutiny of the LCBO – just as 219 private retailers in Ontario currently do with beer, wine and spirits.

"Among private retailers, no one in Ontario knows more about selling beer responsibly than convenience stores. Ontarians of all political stripes support the Government of Ontario modernizing beer retailing through an expanded partnership with convenience and grocery stores," said Dave Bryans, CEO, Ontario Convenience Stores Association. "The foreign beer monopoly needs to have competition under a system that actually benefits Ontarians. We're saying: Let's do that through the LCBO, with the help of private retailers – like convenience stores – who have the experience retailing beer responsibly."

Because the vast majority of LCBO's $1.7 billion profit is earned on the mark-up of alcohol, the OCSA proposal would allow government to grow the dividend it receives from LCBO, while having all capital costs for building or retrofitting new retail locations borne by the private sector.

Ontario's convenience stores are a strong partner of government, selling 75% of all lottery tickets worth $2.55 billion, and also operating many of Ontario's 219 LCBO Agency Stores, where we sell alcohol (beer, wine and spirits) in communities throughout the province.

The proposal, if adopted by government, would also help boost important sectors like Ontario's craft beer industry. OCSA's proposal also included a request of the government that under the 'LCBO Beer Agency Store' framework, contain a mandate that retailers set aside a minimum of 30% of beer retail space for craft beer. This would enshrine OCSA's commitment to craft brewers in regulation, while significantly improving consumer exposure to Ontario craft beer, and creating new retailing opportunities for Ontario craft brewers.

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