We tried the LCBO’s new home delivery service so you don’t have to
Services like Dial-a-Bottle and the Beer Guy—not to mention wineries—have been delivering alcohol products to Ontario residences for more than a decade. But when LCBO.com began accepting orders July 26 from its 5,000-item catalog of beer, wine and spirits, it sounded like a promising innovation, if not an Uber-style disruption of local booze acquisition.
The catch: There’s a $50 minimum order, and a wait of up to three business days for home delivery (plus a $12 Canada Post shipping fee) or up to 12 business days for free delivery to any LCBO location. For residents of smaller Ontario cities and towns, the new service offers more direct access to specialty products that were previously available only at larger outlets or by inter-store transfer. For most GTA residents, however, those existing alcohol delivery services offer same-day home delivery of the same products, with delivery fees as low as $8.
Despite potentially cheaper, faster options and Toronto’s abundance of well-stocked LCBOs, we at Toronto Life HQ couldn’t resist finding out what it would be like to receive a box of assorted alcohol products from the Crown’s omnipresent distributor of intoxicants.
Order placed: July 26, 2016
Order received: Aug. 2, 2016
Elapsed time, in business days: 4. The August long weekend slowed things down, and an attempted delivery on the third business day arrived too late for TLHQ to receive it. But nearly a full calendar week from ordering to delivery is plenty of time to contemplate the dozens of trips on foot one could have made to the LCBO in that timeframe.
Items ordered: 9
Total cost, including shipping and tax: $65.76
What the $50 minimum order looks like, in terms of bottles and cans: One goal of this exercise was to reach the $50 cutoff using as many different products as possible, in order to see how the LCBO’s packaging would accommodate a random configuration of bottles and cans. So instead of methodically ordering one or two big-ticket bottles to meet the cutoff, we took the trolley dash approach. Things got a bit weird toward the end.
Elapsed cost: $2.95
Elapsed cost: $5.60
Elapsed cost: $8.60
Elapsed cost: $14.05
Elapsed cost: $16.90
Elapsed cost: $26.95
Elapsed cost: $30
Elapsed cost: $39.95
Elapsed cost: $52.20. MINIMUM ORDER ACHIEVED!
Nothing was broken.
Hand-written thank-you message on receipt.
The vague surprise of remembering what you ordered, having forgotten what you ordered since you ordered it a week earlier.
Within hours, the same order could have been delivered by another GTA service for $3.39 less than what the LCBO charges, not including a tip for the driver.
Everyone loves opening boxes—especially when those boxes are filled with delicious beer, mead and, yes, even viciously sweet sparkling wine—but unless a person is too busy, lazy or geographically removed to make it to a bricks-and-mortar branch, the LCBO’s new home delivery option doesn’t quite reach those idyllic Christmas morning heights.