Convenience Stores to stock alcohol?

In Ontario, if you wish to drink alcohol in your home, you must first purchase it from either the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) or the Beer Store. This may be about to change as the Ontario Convenience Stores Association has just presented a petition with over 100,00 signatures to the government requesting a change in the law to allow not only the recognized LCBO and beer stores but also approved convenience stores. According to an article in the Ottawa Citizen today, already 200 Ontario Communities benefit from this as there is no stand-alone LCBO in the community.

In Quebec, you can already purchase alcohol in grocery stores and even corner stores. Likewise in many states south of the border as well as across the pond in the UK. In Britain you can buy alcohol at grocery stores, corner shops and through many off-licences, a store that sells all kinds of alcohol. The term off-licences refers to the licence given to such stores which enforces that alcohol purchased in the store must be taken else where to drink. One advantage of multiple locations to purchase alcohol, and having several different chains of off-licences, is that the consumer benefits from the competition and selection.

Opening up the alcohol market to other locations would allow many who live in a town where there isn’t a LCBO or beer store to make a purchase without having to drive for maybe half hour before reaching a location authorized to sell liquor and beer. It has been proven to work in the aforementioned countries and province so why can’t it be adopted it in Ontario?

More places to buy means more chance of alcohol being sold to the underaged, although there would probably be a law change made to allow prosecution of anyone who did sell without proof of age. Many convenience stores are packed with goods, and adding yet more stock might mean only a small amount of alcohol could be sold, leading to a limit of variety and push anyone who wanted to try something different back to the usual places.

A bonus of a convenience store selling alcohol is that you may be able to buy during the hours when the beer and LCBO stores are closed. Great for the last minute party invitation.

There will be arguments on both sides, as there are with most changes, but once decided, you may be within walking distance of a cold beer or a nice red wine. Let’s toast to that.

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