By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday September 24, 2015
Six-packs coming to Ontario supermarkets this fall
Consumers, craft brewers, grocers and owners of small bars and restaurants will finally quench their thirst for change under a new deal between Queen’s Park and the Beer Store, the Star has learned.
The 10-year accord clears the way for six-packs to be sold at 450 of Ontario’s 1,500 supermarkets starting later this fall at the same cost as in LCBO outlets and Beer Stores.
Beer prices in Ontario will continue — on average — to be among the lowest in Canada.
“Nobody thought you could get this agreement with the beer guys,” said a senior government official, referring to the foreign parent companies of Labatt, Molson, and Sleeman, which own the Beer Store and have enjoyed a virtual monopoly since Prohibition ended in 1927.
“For the small brewers, we are increasing their shelf space,” the insider said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the arrangement will not be made public until Wednesday.
Indeed, 20 per cent of beer shelving in supermarkets, the LCBO, and Beer Stores will be reserved for independent brewers from anywhere in the world that make fewer than 4.6 million six-packs a year.
That boutique category includes Ontario’s 100 craft brewers — such as Toronto’s Steam Whistle — as well as small Canadian firms like Brick. It does not encompass corporate craft brewer Creemore Springs, which is owned by Molson, or Labatt’s Goose Island. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)