WATERLOO, Ont. — The first 60 grocery stores in Ontario allowed to sell beer can now add ciders to their shelves.
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario is also seeking bids for another 70 grocery stores to sell beer, cider and wine starting this fall.
Premier Kathleen Wynne says craft producers have turned locally made cider into one of Ontario’s emerging success stories.
The LCBO reported sales of locally produced craft cider increased 54 per cent last year to $5.1 million, while sales of Ontario craft beer rose 35 per cent to $69 million.
Wynne visited a grocery store in Waterloo to announce the next step in the province’s modernization of the way alcoholic beverages are sold, the first real changes since prohibition ended in 1927.
Ontario started allowing sales of six packs of beer in several dozen grocery stores last December, and they sold $7.9 million worth of suds in the first four months.
The plan is to eventually have up to 300 grocery stores, both large chains and smaller independents, selling wine, beer and cider, and another 150 grocers could be authorized to sell just beer and cider.
Of the 300 selling wine, 150 will be existing private retail shops which currently operate just outside grocery stores that will be allowed to move inside, use a shared checkout, and expand their product lines to include any Ontario produced wines.
When the Ontario grocery stores are given the green light to start selling wine later this year, they will have to charge a minimum price of $10.95 a bottle.