QUEENS PARK – GPO Leader Mike Schreiner is pushing the Liberal government to go further to liberate the local beer market, while complimenting the government for taking steps to require the Beer Store to be more accessible for Ontario’s craft brewers and for opening beers sales in supermarkets.
Some critics of the Ontario Government plans on the sale of beer in grocery stores and increased taxes are suggesting that the government is only seeing the issue as one to raise tax revenues, not increasing business opportunities in Ontario for more small specialty brewers.
The GPO has and will continue to push the government to allow local brewers to open Craft Beer Stores. “Greens want to liberate local beer to help create more local jobs and give consumers easier access to the unique and tasty products from our craft brewers,” says Schreiner. “Ontario’s craft brewers deserve fair access to the marketplace.”
There are more than 150 microbreweries, brew pubs, and small contract brewers in Ontario. Sales are booming: in 2013, according to the LCBO, Ontario craft beer grew 28% over the previous year. Yet, Ontario’s local brewers only have 3 percent market share due to market barriers.
“This is about more than beer — it’s about jobs, farms, artisans and local businesses. It’s about equity and fairness,” says GPO Deputy Leader Mark Daye. “The Beer Store has an unfair advantage in Ontario and we want to change that, for the craft brewers and also for Ontario beer drinkers.”
The Green Party believes allowing local brewers to open Craft Beer Stores will create a fair playing field, foster local jobs in the craft brewing industry, and offer more choice to consumers. Currently craft brewers can only sell through the Beer Store, the LCBO or on site of their production facility. They are not allowed to sell craft beer from other brewers.
“I will continue to push the government to liberate local beer,” says Schreiner. “The government has made a good step forward to support our local craft breweries, but we can do more by allowing craft breweries to cooperate on distribution and to open Craft Beer Stores.”