Ontario has selected the first grocers that could sell both domestic and imported wine inside up to 70 grocery stores across the province, increasing convenience and choice for consumers.
The winning grocers from across Ontario were selected via a competitive bidding process held by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).
The sale of wine in grocery stores is scheduled to begin October 28, 2016.
Reflecting a mix of independent and large grocers and geographic representation to ensure fairness, the successful grocers are:
Canex Canadian Forces Exchange System
Coppa’s Fresh Market
Farm Boy 2012 Inc.
Fresh Market Foods
Highland Farms Inc.
Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc.
Metro Ontario Inc.
Sobeys Capital Inc.
Starsky’s Fine Foods Hamilton Inc.
Uxbridge Foods Inc.
Wal-mart Canada Corp.
Yummy Market Inc.
While offering consumers more convenience and choice, Ontario maintains a strong commitment to social responsibility. By law, these grocers will have to abide by the requirements for the safe sale of alcohol overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), including designated sales areas and standard hours of sale, limitations on package sizes and alcohol content and staffing and social responsibility training requirements. Ontario is also developing a comprehensive alcohol policy to promote the responsible sale and use of alcohol.
Supporting more choice and convenience for consumers is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
Eventually, up to 450 grocery stores will be authorized to sell beer and cider and, of these, up to 300 may also sell wine.
Up to 70 existing winery retail stores that operate just outside a grocery store’s checkout will also be permitted to operate inside the store and share the checkout. These “wine boutiques” will broaden their assortment to sell wines made by other Ontario producers, and will be located at grocery stores that sell beer. These wine boutiques will be permitted to begin operating this fall, at the same time as wine is introduced to grocery stores.
Sales of beer in grocery stores started in December 2015. Between December 2015 and the second week of August 2016, grocers received more than 532,000 cases of beer from the LCBO, amounting to net sales of approximately $24 million.
Allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores across the province follows the final recommendations made by the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets. Other recent changes to beverage alcohol retailing in Ontario include the sale of beer in grocery stores last December, cider this June, and online shopping at LCBO.com.