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The latest opponent to corner store booze: craft brewers

Just because a corner store sells beer, doesn’t mean the selection will look like this (Image: Ewan Munro)

When we polled Dish readers about whether corner stores should be allowed to sell beer and wine, the results were a resounding “yes please right now.” But in an article on Torontoist, several craft brewers raise a red flag. As Ken Woods of Black Oak Brewing puts it, “Have you ever taken a look in a convenience store and seen any artisanal products, like artisanal potato chips?” And, though we might point to places like Barton Snacks as an admittedly weak counterexample (it’s not really a convenience store), Woods has a point: just because your local corner store sells beer doesn’t mean the beer it sells is any good. Read the entire story [Torontoist] »

Are you a craft brewer with an opinion on the matter? Get in touch.

  • Cindy

    Given that a majority of corner stores do not sell aristain products — some do; and it’s quite possible that demand of craft beers will dedictate placement within these same establishments… If the market asks; and keeps suggesting, and supports your brand… then why not more locations; more opportunity to purchase beer.

    In New York City, you can find craft beers in ample corner stores, but we all know the comparison here.

  • re-electrobford?areyoumad

    lets look at the physical layout of our local store…how much space is there. what do we give up for beer or wine? less milk for the baby because we can sell beer? less diapers for the baby so we can sell merlot? the corner store will become a liquor store and when we need soap or smokes or toilet paper it won’t be available. sure new stores will pop up like the closed sak’s locations that will renovate to be primarily liquor stores with a few odds and sods thrown in. how do we regulate and enforce (god forbid that word is used) the hours of sale, the crime associated, the panhandling, not selling to underage or intoxicated people… the problems need much more critical thinking than it is being given.

  • 4D Nation 4EVER

    never mind all this. It’s a non-issue.

    let’s talk about SUBWAYS, folks. The taxpayers want subways! They came up to Mayor Ford at the mall in Scarborough that one day he was there, and told him they want subways. They don’t want these damn streetcars blocking up our city!


  • Lola

    Give me a break. I don’t think anyone expects to buy their Dom Perignon at the local convenient store any more than they expect a selection of fine craft beers. Convenient stores will not compete for the same market of consumers that LCBO or craft breweries serve. A more realistic scenario is someone in a bind on a Sunday night who needs to grab a quick 6 pack or cheap bottle of red to take to their friends BBQ: they won’t be completely SOL. The goal is to open the market to competition, not burden the convenient stores. I point to almost every other province in this country as evidence for how this can work without the population becoming drunken thieving criminals. Honestly Toronto, wake up and look around….

  • Cindy

    I don’t think this should be isolated to just a Toronto issue. What about small towns that aren’t large enough to have a LCBO or already have existing beer kiosk within their grocery stores. Is the Province uneasy to give over the tightly controlled market that is the LCBO/Wine Rack/Beerstore. What if we opened up the markets?
    Will we be irresponsbile – can we open up the compeition?
    Is it too much to ask – to share a piece of the pie?

  • Lola

    Good point Cindy. I stand corrected: Wake up ONTARIO!

  • hungry

    Or at least extend the hours of the LCBO and Beerstore outlets. Why am I not allowed to buy a bottle of wine after 6pm on a Sunday? So ridiculous.

  • opl

    I agree with re-electrobford?areyoumad. Much like any business who needs to manage its inventory, it will keep in stock fast moving items as well as the most profitable ones. Our society’s infatuation with alcohol will dictate that majority of the convenience stores will stock more alcohol (just like in the U.S.) than some of items we are accustomed to picking up from the convenience stores. In addition, we have enough problems with enforcing laws against convenience store owners selling cigarettes to minors now we’re going to add alcohol to that list.

  • re-electrobford?areyoumad

    how about….hotels selling off-sales when the lcbo/beer stores are closed? it works in saskatchewan. or extend the hours of operation. it wasn’t too long ago that lcbo stores weren’t open on sundays at all. but i don’t usually have a problem shopping within posted hours…if i need my shot of jagermeister that bad, i can always go to my corner dive bar…

  • re-electrobford?areyoumad

    why louise we would look at your webpage?

  • Darcy

    Ken of Black Oak is a decent guy, but here, just just dead wrong. Take Montreal. It’s almost too easy to find Unibroue, Trois Mousquetaires, Dieu de Ciel, BdM, and many more tiny tiny micros from Charlevoix. You just got to be willing to spend some time finding out which ones carry good beer. Then, put them into your Goolge Maps. At most, they will be 10 minutes apart – perhaps closer than your nearest LCBO here. In sum, finding craft brewery beers is easy in Montreal. It’s fear mongering by Ken and Mike Arnold that c-stores will shut them out. Nonsense. C-stores will sell what sells, plain and simple. And those living downtown Toronto already trek to LCBO stores for more than Canadian or Blue. Lastly, I boycott Beer Boutique; anyone that sells beer but won’t take the bottles back is a piece of s**t.

  • Jay

    I’m a c-store owner in Montreal and I have to say I totally disagree with Ken Woods of Black Oak Brewing. For one companies like Black Oak Brewing get rack space at the LCBO by negoitating with head qurters of the LCBO, they don’t need to make it worth while for every independent owner like myself. Secondly, when craft beers tried to get a foot hold in the urban Montreal market they face fierced competition NOT FROM THE STORE OWNERS but rather, the monopolistic major brewers (IE. Labbat and Molson). As owners of the store we face a back lash from the 2 major for selling craft beers until the craft brewers here in Quebec made it worth our while (financially) to put up with the constant harassment of Molson and Labbat. Over time Molson and Labbat realized the can’t continue to bully their own customers (shop keepers) and had better focus of competing in the market against craft beer brands.

    So Mr. Ken compete in the market or go home. Like the shop keepers.