Beer to cost more in Ontario if sales expanded to corner stores: study

ABOVE: Beer could be coming to a corner store near you – but will the cost of your cold one go up as well? Global’s Alan Carter has more. 

TORONTO – The price of beer in Ontario will rise significantly if convenience stores are allowed to sell them, that according to research released Monday by The Beer Store.

Results of the study shows consumers will end up paying about $10 more per two-four if they are sold to a province-wide network of nearly 7,500 convenience stores.

The research paper was presented by The Beer Store president Ted Moroz at the Toronto Board of Trade on Monday.

“Prices will go up. Make no mistake. Beer, wine and liquor will be more expensive in Ontario,” Moroz said.

“Our study shows that’s what happened in Alberta and British Columbia, while also showing that Ontario currently has among the lowest beer prices in Canada and a better beer selection than other provinces with deregulated systems.”

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Greg Flanagan, an economist who studied the Alberta deregulation of retail alcohol sales, conducted the review of The Beer Store’s findings.

“Retail deregulation does not deliver lower consumer prices, nor does it lead to higher government tax revenues,” said Flanagan.

In December, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association unveiled results of a survey indicating that a large majority of residents in the province want beer and wine sales opened up to other retailers.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Monday during a factory tour in Newmarket, Ont. that she has no intention of opening up the booze market to convenience stores.

The Progressive Conservatives favour expansion of beer and wine sales to privately owned retail outlets, but the NDP supports the government’s position that the LCBO provides good services and product selection in a socially responsible manner.

The Beer Store is owned by Belgium-based Anheuser-Bush InBev through its Labatt Brewing unit in Canada, Molson Coors as well as Saporo, the Japanese owner Sleeman Breweries.

The Beer Store generated $2.7 billion in sales last year.

-with files from Jamie Sturgeon and The Canadian Press


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