Frequently Asked Questions
Who are you?
We’re a small, but growing, group of everyday consumers like you. We aren’t run by, or have any direct ties, to any special interest group – we’re just normal people who want change.
Isn’t The Beer Store owned by the government?
No, The Beer Store is owned by Brewer’s Retail – a company whose ownership is 49% Molson-Coors (headquartered in the United States), 49% Labatt’s (owned by AB InBev, headquartered in Belguim), and 2% Sleeman’s (owned by Sapporo, headquartered in Japan).
Doesn’t the government need the money the LCBO brings in?
The Ontario government needs money for sure – but getting rid of the government monopoly likely won’t result in less revenue – in fact, it may even bring in more.
The government of Ontario’s own 2005 study found that there was no clear connection between the amount of revenue brought in and the amount of government control over the system. In fact, many jurisdictions, including Alberta, saw an increase in government revenue.
A recent study by the C.D. Howe institute said this: “We find that freeing up alcoholic beverage retailing would result in increased government revenue, lower prices, and more convenience. Other factors being equal, Western Canadian provinces with more competition had 7 percent more per capita provincial alcohol profits than provinces with government-run monopolies.”
Can we trust small business owners to sell alcohol?
We already trust small businesses to sell spirits, wine and beer in 212 LCBO Agency Stores across Ontario. We also trust thousands of small business owners to sell alcohol at restaurants and bars across the province, and we trust convenience store owners to sell other restricted goods, like lottery and tobacco.
Won’t we see an increase in alcohol related crime?
The government of Ontario seems to disagree. Their own study, comparing various states and provinces across North America, found this: “The number of alcohol related crimes does not appear to be dependent on the level of government control in the system.”
Didn’t the government say they would allow beer and wine to be sold in grocery stores?
These superficial changes create more red tape and leave Ontario a long way from a free and open retailing system.
The government is slowly introducing beer into 450 grocery stores – a change that for some reason will take years to implement. As of Fall 2016, less than 130 grocery stores are allowed to sell beer (out of over 3000 grocery stores in the province) and the government won’t allow beer to be sold in any of Ontario’s more than 8000 convenience stores. These grocery stores aren’t able to compete on prices, can’t sell packs of beer larger than 6, and have to sell within the same hours as the Beer Store and LCBO.
Where can I learn more?
Our blog is a great source for information and links to articles on this subject, but if you’re looking for heavier reading, we strongly recommend the C.D. Howe Institute’s report, Uncorking a Strange Brew: The Need for More Competition in Ontario’s Alcoholic Beverage Retailing System, and the Government of Ontario’s Beverage Alcohol System Review.