Looks like the plans to insert beer sales into Ontario grocery stores are taking longer than expected. Originally, it was announced that we might see beer on grocery store shelves by Christmas, 2015.
Then, we started to see restrictions that have slowed the process.
First, we saw that it wouldn’t be ALL grocery stores, but 450 grocery stores (there’s a lot more than that). Then we heard that wine, that was also projected to see grocery store shelves, would take longer to integrate.
Now, we hear that grocery stores will only be able to sell 6-packs, and that prices will be fixed to be aligned with those of The Beer Store and the LCBO. So there will be no cost savings, along with consumers knowing that 6-packs have the highest price per unit, as a ‘convenience’ size.
Now, a recent news article on CTV news reports that those grocery stores will have limited sales: they will be limited to less than a million dollars a year in sales, or face penalties. This amounts to a limit of 279 six-packs a day, per store. That might seem like a lot of beer at first glance, but considering my guess as to the annual volume of persons and sales in major grocery stores, that’s probably peanuts.
It appears it’s taking time to address concerns:
- As businesses, the Beer Store and the LCBO would be looking to protect their market share, while the LCBO Union has been reported to be against the plan
- Looking over recent news articles, the Ontario government appears to be simultaneously working to control pricing, protect existing businesses, grow the economy, manage concerns about responsibility and public relations, and ensure market entry points for Craft Beer (as this is the fastest growing market segment), just to name a few elements
- Public Health agencies have raised concerns about increased access leading to increased alcohol-related harms
- There would be a social concern about young people having more channels to acquire booze
It appears there are vast complexities – and this move will not be as quick or simple as first thought.