13 grocery stores selected to sell beer in Ontario

TORONTO – A list of 13 winning bidders have been selected to sell beer in grocery stores across Ontario.

The province said the winners were selected as a part of a “competitive bidding process.”

“To move forward with selling beer, these companies will apply to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to seek authorization for individual store locations,” the province said in a media release.

The list of grocery stores include a mix of independent and large grocers. They are as follows:

  • Coppa’s Fresh Market
  • Farm Boy 2012 Inc.
  • Galleria Supermarket
  • Hanahreuem Mart Inc.
  • J & B La Mantia Ltd. (La Mantia’s Country Market)
  • Loblaws Inc.
  • Longo Brothers Fruit Market Inc.
  • Metro Ontario Inc.
  • Michael-Angelos Market Place Inc.
  • Pino’s Get Fresh
  • Sobeys Capital Incorporated
  • Starsky Fine Foods Hamilton Inc.
  • Wal-Mart Canada Corp.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced in September that 60 grocers will be allowed to sell beer by year’s end.

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Though mega chains such as Walmart and Loblaw were among the winning bidders, Finance Minister Charles Sousa said he was surprised to see how many small, independent grocers applied.

“We didn’t anticipate having as much interest by the independents as there was, and they got more distribution, more allocation,” he said.

Of the 60 licences, 12 were reserved for small grocers and larger ones could get up to 48, but Sousa wouldn’t divulge the final breakdown. He also wouldn’t say, until the AGCO process is complete, how much money the government is getting from those licences.

The government eventually intends to allow the sale of six-packs to 450 grocery stores across the province — including up to 150 by May 2017.

Grocery stores that wished to acquire a licence to sell beer had until Nov. 6 to do so.

The province said additional bidders could come into the fold if those initially selected fail to become authorized.

The government has also finalized a new series of agreements with The Beer Store which the province says will level the playing field for Ontario’s craft brewers.

This includes offering a 20 per cent minimum shelf space for small brewers in The Beer Store network and a commitment from the industry’s largest brewers to cap price increases to inflation for some of their most popular beer products until May 2017.

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The changes come in the wake of a report by a panel headed by TD Bank CEO Ed Clark, which examined Crown assets to find ways to bring in additional revenue to pay for the province’s infrastructure projects.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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