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The Beer Store may be allowed to sell more than just beer

News reports say the government is looking to expand what the retailer can sell to customers.
Tom Venetis head shot
The Beer Store Richmond Hill Ontario

According to  680NewRadio and CityNews Toronto, the Ontario government is possibly looking to allow The Beer Store to sell more than beer in the future.

According to the news report, the Ford government, which rose a week early for an extended summer break on June 6, is suggesting The Beer Store could be allowed to sell such items as OLG lottery tickets and other products. The LCBO is also looking to sell lottery tickets, only it has not made any decision on that.

This comes as Ontario moves to expand beverage alcohol sales in the province in convenience stores starting in the fall of this year. Licensed retailers including convenience stores and gas stations will then be able to sell beer, wine and ready-to-drink cocktails alongside such items as snacks and milk and other long-time staples .

According to 680NewsRadio, The Beer Store was asked about the sale of lottery tickets and if it intends to make them available. While the spokesperson who was asked the question did not provide specific answers, instead pointed to a statement released on May 24 that spoke about investments in modernization and the need for The Beer Store to compete in this new retail environment.

"In the transition to the expanded marketplace, The Beer Store will have the ability to serve other products including lottery tickets. The Beer Store would still have to go through the same process as all other lottery retailers," wrote Colin Blachar
press secretary, issues manager and manager of Legislative Affairs
Office of the Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ministry of Finance in a statement sent to Convenience Store News Canada when contacted about the news.

READ:  Challenges ahead for early beverage alcohol sales in Ontario

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 “It is our understanding that there is nothing in the regulation that prevents us from selling certain items, including lottery tickets,” the spokesperson added, “At this time, no decisions have been made regarding the sale of additional products at the LCBO.

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) told 680NewsRadio that while it welcomed competition in the marketplace, it raised concerns about what it said was the possible transformation of beer stores into convenience stores. The main concern was that The Beer Store manages currently the warehousing, distribution and delivery of beer in Ontario, and questions need to be addressed about having a single competitor control that beer distribution network to ensure that all retailer in the province are treated fairly.

“CICC’s focus remains squarely on the issues of distribution, as well as the taxes and fees that will impact our landed costs. The government is aware of our concerns on these critical issues and we are working through many details that still need to be ironed out to ensure that Ontario’s c-store retailers are best prepared for the September 5th launch date," says Jeff Brownlee, VP communications & stakeholder relations with the Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC) in a statement sent to Convenience Store News Canada. "We are committed to ensuring that free-market principles remain a priority for every party" involved.”

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