Why aren’t the convenience stores able to sell alcohol yet?
There is no one answer but a lot of this delay pertains to the past Liberal government signing a 10-year exclusive deal with the three (3) major owners of The Beer Stores known as the MFA agreement. This agreement subjects the present government to penalties for business losses if they open up to the retail channel, which in turn causes the government to delay.
Keep in mind the national convenience chains are some of the largest customers to the three major breweries throughout North America and you think this could somehow influence an open market to assist the government in a transition to our channel.
In the meantime, we see all bars and restaurants selling take home alcohol (in all types of containers) and alcohol delivery companies making profits on delivering beer (all monitored by the three major beer companies) while our industry patiently waits.
Recently the national convenience chain association launched their own initiative to try to move the needle. Unfortunately the government tasked with coordinating a solution with stakeholders remained somewhat difficult and it appears that the campaign was not given the recognition it deserves.
The OCSA is committed to this file and continues to work with the Ford government on how to bring this initiative forward (during an election year).
We have always worked alongside many stakeholders, like the Craft Brewers Association, to ensure we can and will support their members. We also work alongside Carlsberg, Waterloo Brewers, Ontario Craft Wineries, and many others because we believe a collective voice is necessary in terms of the best interests for all consumers in Ontario.
What can Convenience Store retailers do?
All retailers need to have their voices heard and during the upcoming election posturing. Remind all MPP’s and potential politicians of the commitment to consumers, suppliers, and convenience stores of this ongoing promise to our channel while we continue to see the opening of the market to all other groups.
The OCSA is committed to seeing this through and look forward to celebrating the day all family run stores will have the same rights to sell beer/wine to their customers like other jurisdictions in North America.
It is time to come out of the dark ages with this old fashioned beer retailing model and allow for choice, competition, and convenience throughout the province, and to live up to the promise!