Thanks to a loosening of the rules during the lockdown, picking up a bottle of wine for takeout or delivery from Toronto restaurants and bars has become a thing – and now convenience stores want a piece of the action.
Originally a measure to support the struggling restaurant industry, Ontario made alcohol sales with take-out and delivery a permanent law in december.
Now the Convenience Industry Council of Canadaa not-for-profit council for convenience stores, is calling on the province to allow the sale of beer, coolers and wine in Ontario convenience stores.
Specifically, they want to focus on bringing local beer and wine producers to stores to help provincial producers, according to a statement.
“Ontario’s convenience store industry is committed to supporting local producers by selling 100% made-in-Ontario beer, wine and coolers by 2022,” said Anne Kothawala, President and CEO of the leadership of the Convenience Industry Council of Canada.
The Ontario Convenience Association would like to be able to sell beer and wine, and it is prepared to limit its offering to Ontario-made craft beverages to help the sector recover from the pandemic.https://t.co/PD6JgSA7X1 pic.twitter.com/hgyWrPvoMd
— John Michael McGrath (@jm_mcgrath) October 7, 2021
Although the Ford government promised to allow liquor sales in convenience stores (with a promise of money for a beer), the deal hit a snag in 2019 when an unnamed source told CBC that breaking the contract with The Beer Storewhich expires in 2025, could result in more than $100 million in fines.
But Kothawala says the deal was already broken when the province allowed take-out alcohol sales at restaurants.
“So basically that deal has already been broken,” Kothawala told blogTO. “Every change the government has made regarding alcohol, including allowing delivery to restaurants, has fundamentally breached the Umbrella Framework Agreement.”
She says allowing sales will help convenience stores recover from the lockdown and bring local growers to Ontario’s 8,500 convenience stores.
“We’re just asking the government to choose jobs and economic growth,” she says. “And we think that’s going to give not just convenience stores, but small brewers, distillers and wineries across Ontario 8,500 new retail opportunities.”
It could also help small, local craft brewers and wineries that don’t have the economies of scale to enter larger stores.
“Our customers are already going to convenience stores, and it would be great if they could buy some of our Ontario-made beverages and save themselves a trip,” said Jason Lalonde, co-owner of Carp’s Ridge Rock Brewing Company. .
Kothawala hopes the government will listen.
“Ontarians want it. We’re ready to deliver it. It’s time to give Ontario residents what they want while helping the Ford government deliver on a promise it made to voters,” said Kothawala.