The Ontario beer menu is shorter because there are only two retail choices, Enright said: The provincial government's Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) outlets, and the Beer Store outlets, which are run by large beer companies, Molson, Labatt and Sleeman.As a result of this silliness beer lovers from Ontario are forced to go to Buffalo to get a proper taste of the booming micro-brewery industry. And as a friend of mine put it, “people should never have to go to Buffalo.”
Brewers can approach the Beer Store for shelf space, but the entry price can be too steep for many of the smaller American companies.
"The majority of brands at the Beer Store are different brands from the big brewers, multiple products from Molson, Labatt, Coors, Bud, that kind of thing," plus mass-produced internationals like Heineken and Stella Artois, Enright said.
The Liquor Control Board stores have the widest selection, but it's not easy for small American brewers to meet its requirements, Enright said. Varieties, even short-run seasonals like a pumpkin ale, have to be submitted for possible inclusion a year before they can appear on shelves, Enright said. Labels have to be printed in French as well as English.
"It's not like you have small, independent stores where you can talk to the beer buyer and he'll take a couple cases," he said. "It's a process that takes a year for a beer to get onto the shelf, which makes it very challenging to a lot of small craft brewers."
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Ontario regulation restricts beer selection
If you ever get into a debate on the question of how absurd Ontario’s alcohol laws are, all you have to do is describe what the laws actually are. Here is a description from a Buffalo news outlet: