Support for More Private Beer Sales 'Widespread and Strong'

Study shows nearly 70% of Ontarians support allowing more retailers to compete

Published in CSP Daily News

The Beer Store

OAKVILLE, Ontario -- A new study of Ontarians attitudes toward beer sales shows that seven out of 10 (69%) want to see more private retailers, like convenience stores, offer competition to The Beer Store. The study concluded that support for allowing private retailers to compete with both the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and The Beer Store is "widespread and strong."

"This survey reinforces what convenience stores hear from their customers almost daily – people want more choice and convenience in alcohol retailing. They know that competition is a good thing, and there is evidence to show that adding competition to alcohol retailing in Ontario can actually boost LCBO profits at the same time," said Dave Bryans, CEO of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA). "And that's not to mention the jobs that would be created with allowing more competition. Earlier this year one of our members alone promised it would immediately create nearly 1,800 jobs if alcohol retailing were expanded."

Other findings of the Angus Reid Public Opinion study:

  • 61% of Ontarians in urban areas and 83% in rural areas were familiar with the LCBO Agency Store program where about 200 c-stores in Ontario already sell alcohol.
  • 73% want to see the LCBO's Agency Store network expanded.
  • Only 13% of Ontarians are aware that The Beer Store is owned by three foreign multi-national companies. When informed of The Beer Store's ownership, 62% of Ontarians had a somewhat negative or very negative opinion of the organization.
  • 63% of Ontarians ranked the responsible sale of alcohol as a main factor in their overall experience when purchasing alcohol; 46% cited overall convenience as key.

"The facts are that convenience stores can and do retail alcohol responsibly and professionally. In fact, we're already doing it at 200 locations in Ontario through the LCBO Agency Store program," said Dave Bryans, CEO of the OCSA. "Whether it's abroad, in Quebec, or right here at home, Ontarians have seen how convenience stores are responsible alcohol retailers."

A mystery shopping study conducted by Statopex Field Marketing revealed that when tested with underage secret shoppers (age 15 to 18), c-stores scored the highest with an 87.3% pass rate, The Beer Store next with 80.7% and LCBO last with 74.6%--meaning one in four minors successfully purchased age-restricted products from LCBO, and one in five from The Beer Store--compared to one in eight for c-stores.

Last year, the OCSA also delivered a petition to Queen's Park calling on the Ontario Legislature allow for more competition in beer and wine sales through c-stores. The petition collected 112,500 names from 220 communities across the province, making it the largest single petition ever collected in Ontario.

OCSA represents nearly 7,500 of the 11,000 c-stores in Ontario. The industry represents $13 billion in sales annually in Ontario and employs more than 69,000 people. More than three million people visit c-stores in communities across Ontario every day.