Beer and wine sale changes coming — maybe

by | Mar 31, 2015 | News

Malcolm Campbell
News Reporter

Beer and wine will be easier to get soon, according to multiple reports over the past week.

Kathleen Wynne’s provincial government recently released a plan to allow grocery stores to sell beer and wine.

Reports suggest there are a number of variations to the plan are on the table, including the possibility that retailers bid on special licenses granting them permission to sell beer and wine.

Another would allow Ontario’s Craft Brewers, a conglomerate of the province’s independent brewers, to open shops and sell their own products, as well as sell other craft beers.

This sudden push to change an aging system was spurred on by growing public resentment of The Beer Store’s monopoly on the sales of suds in the province.

Ted Glenn, professor of Public Administration at Humber, thinks the government is taking the opportunity to gain public support.

“It’s a political quick hit, it doesn’t cost them anything to move in and expand the retail operations,” said Glenn. “There’s only an upside from their perspective.”

He also said the Ontario Liberals are trying to regain public support after several years of scandal.

“It’s not about money, it’s about political capital, this is a political success story, they’ve had very few and this offers them one at a very low cost,” said Glenn.

Pierre-Pascal Gendron, Professor & Program Coordinator at Humber Business School, however says Ontario’s financial state is the true driving force.

“They’ve been running very large budget deficits for the last few years,” said Gendron.

“There’s rampant debt accumulation in Ontario, and there’s not a lot of growth so the province is desperate for money,” he said.

The intent may not be to benefit consumers, but Gendron says expanding the retail system will do just that.

“As a consumer you could go to a Loblaws or a Sobeys and buy your beer, that’s great convenience,” he said.

Danny Chea, a third-year Sports Management student, said he likes the idea of opening up the market. Chea said the added convenience would be great for consumers, but he also pointed out potential drawbacks.

“The consumption of alcohol increasing leading to unhealthier people, more incidents of drunk driving and accidents, fatalities and things of that nature,” Chea said.