A newly-released study of Ontarians attitudes toward beer sales shows that seven out of ten (69%) want to see more private retailers, like convenience stores, offer competition to The Beer Store.  The study, conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, concluded that support for allowing private retailers to compete with both the LCBO and The Beer Store is “widespread and strong.”

“This survey reinforces what convenience stores hear from their customers almost daily – people want more choice and convenience in alcohol retailing. They know that competition is a good thing, and there is evidence to show that adding competition to alcohol retailing in Ontario can actually boost LCBO profits at the same time,” said Dave Bryans, CEO of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA). “And that’s not to mention the jobs that would be created with allowing more competition. Earlier this year one of our members alone promised it would immediately create nearly 1,800 jobs if alcohol retailing were expanded.”

Other findings from the Angus Reid Public Opinion survey:

  • 61% of Ontarians in urban areas and 83% in rural areas were familiar with the LCBO Agency Store program where about 200 convenience stores in Ontario already sell alcohol
  • 73% want to see the LCBO’s Agency Store network expanded
  • Only 13% of Ontarians are aware that The Beer Store is owned by three foreign multi-national companies.
  • 63% of Ontarians ranked the responsible sale of alcohol as a main factor in their overall experience when purchasing alcohol; 46% cited overall convenience as key

When informed of The Beer Store’s foreign ownership, 62% of Ontarians had a somewhat negative, or very negative opinion of the organization.

“ The facts are that convenience stores can and do retail alcohol responsibly and professionally. In fact, we’re already doing it at 200 locations in Ontario through the LCBO Agency Store program,” said Dave Bryans, CEO of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. “Whether it’s abroad, in Quebec, or right here at home, Ontarians have seen how convenience stores are responsible alcohol retailers.”

A mystery shopping study conducted by Statopex Field Marketing (www.statopex.com) revealed that when tested with underage secret shoppers (age 15-18), convenience stores scored the highest with an 87.3% pass rate, The Beer Store next with 80.7% and LCBO last with 74.6% – meaning 1 in 4 minors successfully purchased age-restricted products from LCBO, and 1 in 5 from The Beer Store – compared to 1 in 8 for convenience stores.

Last year, the OCSA also delivered a petition to Queen’s Park calling on the Ontario Legislature allow for more competition in beer and wine sales through convenience stores. The petition collected 112,500 names from 220 communities across the province, making it the largest single petition ever collected in Ontario.