With rumours circulating that the Ontario provincial government will soon put an end to the Master Framework Agreement governing beer sales in the province, convenience stores in the province are beginning to think about how they will sell beer to thirsty customers.
The Agreement, set to expire in 2025, sets strict limits on the sale of beer in outlets other than The Beer Store retailer. Largely owned by the breweries Molson, Labatt and Sleeman, with a few smaller local breweries having a small stake as well, the Agreement leaves many smaller retailers, such as convenience stores, locked out of the lucrative beer sales market in the province. In the most recent quarterly report by the LCBO, between June 18 and October 7 of this year, beer and cider make up 21% of the nearly $2,463,000,000 in alcohol sales in the province. In those beer sales, premium beer made up 61% of sales, followed by mainstream at 16% and craft beer at 15%.
In the convenience sector, beer is the top growth category, with sales hitting $489,046,007 in 2022, according to research from NielsenIQ and shared by the Convenience Industry Council of Canada—the potential is huge, as these numbers currently only cover Quebec.
So, convenience store operators in Ontario and beyond who are eyeing to tap into that market (much as grocery stores did when the rules were changed allowing them to sell beer and wine) will need to start thinking about how to incorporate coolers in their operations.
Anthony, in partnership with Horton Automatics, announced in October, that it is now making available to retailers with beer caves its Anthony Automatic Beer Cave Door. The technology is based around the common sliding door familiar to most. “They are pretty normal, you see them everywhere you go,” Uri Rainisch, senior product manager for Anthony, told CSNC. “It is a technology that is utilized throughout the world that allows people to get easily in and out of spaces.”
Rainisch adds that Anthony took Horton’s sliding door technology and married it to Anthony’s glass door technologies to create a very efficient sliding door solution that comes in single and double door configurations and in six sizes to accommodate different sized beer cave spaces.
The doors are made to operate with a high degree of efficiency and speed allowing for quick entry and exit. This might seem a minor point to some, only Rainisch says this is critical for retailers operating beer caves. “The reason is that between 42 to 50% of beer sold in North America, depending on where you are, is sold between Friday around five o’clock and Saturday at five o’clock. So, you have this one 24-hour period where convenience stores and grocery stores need to be able to provide all the beer that their customers want. Our door now enables these convenience stores and grocery stores to manage that rush. A lot of people can now move in and out of these beer caves much more seamlessly than before.”
Rainisch adds that another advantage of using a sliding door system is that it allows people to keep their hands free and carry cases of beer in and out of the cooler, encouraging more sales and profit. Another is a sliding door that gives an unobstructed view of the beers in the cave. “You get that visibility into your beer cave which is inviting to customers and encourages them to enter.”
Anthony’s Automatic Beer Cave Door is now available for purchase in Canada.