Report Recognizes Lost Opportunities, Addresses Issues of Fairness in Retail Access
& Supports OCB Growth
TORONTO (November 14, 2014) – The Ontario Craft Brewers Association welcomes the policy direction released in the 77 page Initial Report of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets, Retain and Gain: Making Ontario’s Assets Work Better for Taxpayers and Consumers as related to liquor distribution in Ontario, released November 13, 2014.
The Ontario Craft Brewers Association is pleased that the direction in this report is consistent with those provided by Mr. Ed Clark in his speech delivered on October 17th. This report offers even greater clarity and directly addresses many of the issues faced by Craft Brewers as they seek to reach their full potential and double or triple the number of direct and indirect brewery jobs they create across the entire Province.
The OCB feels that Phase one of the Advisory Council as outlined in the report successfully provides the direction needed to provide fairness in access and treatment for Ontario Craft Beer manufacturers.
The ability to sell 12 packs in the LCBO, creation of LCBO warehouse stores in major cities, LCBO specialty stores which emphasize craft beer, LCBO stores that reflect neighbourhoods in which they operate, online channels, exploring Craft Beer stores, greater transparency at The Beer Store to ensure costs are allocated equitably among suppliers, removing the unique benefits of the privately-owned, quasi-monopolies, treating both TBS owners and non-owners fairly with respect to display of their products, are all initiatives the Ontario Craft Brewers Association has put forward for many years and supports.
We thank Mr. Clark for recognizing the difficulties and lost opportunities Ontario Craft Brewers have faced over the past fourteen years where our beer has basically been allowed to be hidden behind a wall at 330 of 440 TBS stores. Without doubt, this has been frustrating for our members as well as consumers and we welcome fundamental change at The Beer Store that can address and improve this and other aspects of this distribution channel.
Both The Beer Store and the LCBO are large retail systems that provide valuable services to the industry and consumers. However, as large as these systems are, neither of them can keep up with the number of new small brewers that will need retail shelf space and an affordable place to start selling their beer. For this reason the Ontario Craft Brewers are very pleased that Mr. Clark and his team continue to address these issues and it encourages Mr. Clark and his team to continue to down this path and for the Government to approve the equalization of rights to open stores.
When considering the introduction of new rights fees, licensing fees or cost of service fees, the OCB feels it is important to ensure these fees are not just passed on to consumers. As well, we feel it is important that any new cost of service fees are adjusted to ensure the continued growth of Ontario Craft Brewers and the jobs they create throughout the entire Province.
Members of Ontario Craft Brewers are very happy with this report and look forward to working with the Council on Phase II of its mandate to improve liquor distribution within the Province and implement the changes which Ontario taxpayers, producers and consumers deserve.
Ontario Craft Brewers: Discover the Difference. http://www.ontariocraftbrewers.com
Ontario Craft Brewers is an association of 45+ small brewers dedicated to making great tasting, high quality beer in Ontario. Ontario Craft Brewers brew their beers locally using fresh, all natural ingredients in communities throughout Ontario – from the Ottawa Valley to Windsor and Niagara to Muskoka and as far north as Kenora. Handcrafting over 450 premium beers, Ontario Craft Brewers employ almost 1,000 people in Ontario, accounting for almost 30 per cent of the direct brewing industry jobs in the province. As of 2013, Ontario’s Craft Brewers’ share for premium priced brands was almost 4% of the beer volume sold. Craft beer continues to be the fastest growing segment within the LCBO’s beer category. The OCB’s long term vision is to make Ontario a North American Centre of Excellence for Craft Brewing. Funding provided by the government of Ontario. Please discover responsibly.
For more information about the Ontario Craft Brewers, visit www.ontariocraftbrewers.com, www.ocbweek.ca or follow us on Twitter @OntCraftBrewers (#ocbweek) or Facebookwww.facebook.com/OntarioCraftBrewers
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