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Cider Available in Grocery Stores

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Ontario has further expanded consumers’ options for buying alcohol by making cider available in grocery stores, starting today, at 60 grocery stores already selling beer across the province.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement at Sobeys Northfield in Waterloo. Allowing cider to be sold in grocery stores is part of the biggest shakeup to beverage alcohol retailing in Ontario since prohibition ended in 1927. The shakeup began with last December’s launch of beer in grocery stores.

Today, the LCBO also launched a request for bids for 70 additional grocery stores to sell wine, beer and cider starting this fall.

Eventually, up to 300 grocery stores — both large chains and independents — could sell wine, beer and cider. An additional 150 stores could be authorized to sell just beer and cider. As well, up to 150 existing winery retail stores that operate just outside a grocery store’s checkout will be permitted to move inside the store and share the checkout. These winery retail stores will broaden their assortment to sell wines made by any Ontario producer.

Ontario is expanding access to alcohol responsibly. The same social responsibility requirements apply to cider sales in grocery stores as beer, including standard hours of sale and rigorous training for staff. Restrictions will also apply to ensure responsible retailing of wine in grocery stores. Ontario is currently developing a comprehensive alcohol policy to support the safe consumption of alcohol.

Cider available in grocery stores is a fast-growing segment of the market. The LCBO’s sales of locally made craft cider grew by 54 per cent in 2015-16, to a total of $5.1 million. Ontario’s cider producers are thriving, creating jobs and fuelling growth in the agriculture and tourism sectors.

“Ontario’s craft cider producers are delighted to have our products available alongside beer in grocery stores. We are thrilled with the opportunities government has provided to open up our local products to reach Ontario consumers. These opportunities help us move forward on our vision to further our world-class cider industry using local fruit from Ontario farmers, creating jobs in local communities across the province.” — Thomas Wilson, Chair, Ontario Craft Cider Association

Offering consumers more choice and convenience while improving opportunities for businesses 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 investing in talent and skills, including 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 investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and 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.

Locally you can buy suds at Real Canadian Superstore, 4371 Walker Road. Eventually, up to 450 stores could be authorized to sell beer and up to 300 to sell wine, with the goal of ensuring fair competition and distribution across the province.
QUICK FACTS

  • Introducing cider and wine to grocery stores was part of the final recommendations from the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets chaired by Ed Clark.
  • The government conducted extensive industry consultations to define a fair and socially responsible model for beer, wine and cider sales in grocery stores.
  • Ontario is working to have beer and cider available for sale in up to 150 grocery stores by May 1, 2017. Wine will be introduced alongside beer in up to 300 grocery stores, starting with 70 additional stores in the fall of 2016. Ultimately, up to 450 grocery stores provincewide could sell beer and cider.
  • Interested grocery retailers can register for the open and transparent request for bids run by the LCBO at Biddingo under LCBO RFB # 2016-010. The deadline for submissions is August 5. A third-party Fairness Commissioner will oversee the bidding process.