Free Our Beer Campaign

UPDATE: Convenience stores throughout Ontario are asking the same question as we work with the Ontario government to create a new category for our members: where is our beer?

Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Finance Vic Fideli continue to assure us that they are committed to living up to their election promise of beer in convenience stores. However, the government has been distracted by cannabis and the upcoming City of Toronto election. The beer file has not been given a lot of thought at this point.
We are encouraging the government and working with them to begin a process to move this file forward and will continue to update the retailers who have indicated their interests in selling beer in many communities in Ontario.

July 17: The Progressive Conservatives announced during their first throne speech that beer and wine will soon be available in convenience stores in Ontario. As a result, retailers in our sector can expect these products to be made available to the channel eventually.

There’s plenty of work before such an ambitious change can roll out through the province, however, and it’s the OCSA’s responsibility to ensure that members of the association are represented during this process.

These are just a few of the questions that will need to be answered in the coming months.

  • Who will draft plans for the channel for the sale of beer?
  • What are the expectations of the regulator?
  • Who gets beer first as roll out begins?
  • Who writes the actual plan?
  • What does the model entail from manufacturer to distributor to retailer?
  • Who trains staff to responsibly handle the sale of beer?
  • Who trains staff to responsibly handle recyclables?
  • Who trains staff to responsibly handle craft beer allocation?

The OCSA has been working with a government and public relations firm that has coached us along these conversations for the past four years. We’ll continue to work together to make sure that our members are regularly updates as we begin to present our ideas and concepts to the government.

Additionally, we’ve rebranded the Free Our Beer campaign to assist with the transition. In addition to the website, the campaign is active on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

We encourage all retailers who want to sell beer in the near future to take time and join the OCSA by going online and filling out an application to ensure that you are included in these negotiations forward. You may do so at our website or by simply calling our office (905) 84509152.

We are determined to move this file as quickly as possible so that OCSA retail member are first in line for expansion.