November 2, 2015, WINNIPEG – If you’ve ever wondered about the high cost of a bottle of wine when you dine out, a new report offers some answers: restaurant and bar owners in 8 out of 10 provinces pay the same price as you do for a bottle of wine.

Today’s Raise the Bar report card from Restaurants Canada grades each province on liquor policies and regulations as they relate to the hospitality industry, and there’s plenty of room for improvement:

  • Saskatchewan earned a dismal D+ because bar and restaurant owners have no access to wholesale pricing, can only buy from the SLGA, and must charge a 10% tax on the drinks they serve – all pushing up the price tag for consumers.
  • Manitoba fared somewhat better with a C+. The province has improved the regulatory environment, but has so far refused to provide bar and restaurant owners with wholesale pricing on alcohol products.

“The good news is, we’ve seen a willingness in both provinces to remove some of the outdated regulations and red tape that frustrate business owners and customers,” says Dwayne Marling, Restaurants Canada’s Vice-President Manitoba/Saskatchewan. “The bad news is, we’ve seen no movement on wholesale pricing for our industry. It makes no sense for bar and restaurant owners to pay the same retail price as the general public for their alcohol purchases.”

The Raise the Bar report card is the by-product of a survey of Canada’s restaurant and bar owners who are frustrated with provincial regulations that control the cost and distribution of the alcoholic beverages they provide to customers.

Close to all (97%) surveyed members of Restaurants Canada want to see wholesale pricing for the products they sell in their establishments, and 72% believe the cost of purchasing their product (often from liquor distribution monopolies) hinders their ability to do business. Less than a third (30%) say they receive value from their local liquor or beer supplier.

The full report card results are available here.

Restaurants Canada is a growing community of 30,000 foodservice businesses, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and suppliers. We connect our members from coast to coast, through services, research and advocacy for a strong and vibrant restaurant industry. Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs 1.2 million Canadians, is the number one source of first jobs, and serves 18 million customers every day.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *