Ontario begins to loosen The Beer Store’s stranglehold on restaurants and bars

Published April 16, 2015

TORONTO, April 16, 2015 – Half of Ontario’s licensed restaurants will soon be able to buy beer at retail price, rather than at the inflated “licensee price” currently charged by The Beer Store, thanks to today’s announcement by the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets.

This change is a good first step that will help small businesses. Currently, bars and licensed restaurants in Ontario are forced to pay 30 to 50 per cent more than the public price. This inequity costs the province’s foodservice industry more than $75 million annually.

“This is going to be a long journey, but it is an important first step,” said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada’s Vice President Ontario. “The Wynne Government has shown the fortitude to begin to address a decades-long problem. Rather than continue the status quo of a broken system, they chose to act.”

The Advisory Council recommends that restaurants buying fewer than 250 cases of beer per year can buy at retail prices. This will affect approximately 9,000 licensed restaurants.

“We have always said that this system is inherently broken,” said Rilett. “Today’s announcement doesn’t help the bars and pubs that sell high volumes of beer and are currently being gouged on price, but we will continue to work with the government to resolve these issues.”

Restaurants Canada (formerly the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association) is a national association comprising 30,000 businesses in every segment of the foodservice industry, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and their suppliers. Through advocacy, research, and member programs and services, Restaurants Canada is dedicated to helping its members in every community grow and prosper.


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