Corner stores make a pitch to sell Ontario beer and wine; Liberals say no

Corner stores make a pitch to sell Ontario beer and wine; Liberals say no

(Image: Karl Baron) (Image: Karl Baron)
 

For decades, Ontario residents have been teased on-and-off with the prospect of shopping for beer and wine beyond the confines of a government-run emporium—only for the idea to fizzle into nothing. The latest tease-and-switch was shorter-lived than most. At a Queen’s Park press conference earlier today, the head of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association made a public pitch to allow stores like 7-Eleven and Mac’s to sell Ontario-made wine and craft beer. The plan, according to OCSA CEO Dave Bryans, would support Ontario craft brewers and wine producers, improve public access to local bottles and brews and preserve the LCBO’s lucrative wholesale business. The Liberal government was quick to put the kibosh on the proposal: “We have a terrific distribution network,” said mean mommy Premier Kathleen Wynne, “and we’re going to continue to work with the LCBO to increase that distribution network.” The Liberals have committed to putting 10 LCBO outlets in grocery stores as part of a pilot program, but have no plans to allow alcohol sales in corner stores. The government, after all, has compelling reasons to keep alcohol firmly under public control. One-point-seven-billion reasons, to be exact. [Globe and Mail]