Premier Kathleen Wynne and Ed Clark announce their plans for bringing beer to grocery stores in Ontario by Christmas this year


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Premier Kathleen Wynne and Ed Clark, the head of the premier's advisory council, announced their plan for bringing beer to grocery stores today.

Image: David Ort

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Ed Clark, the head of the premier's advisory council, announced their plan for bringing beer to grocery stores today. The announcement was held at Toronto’s Mill Street Brewery in the Distillery District. 

By December 2015, up to 60 Ontario grocery stores will have their authorisation to sell beer. Interested grocery stores can start bidding through the government's site starting today.

To participate stores must have 10,000 sq ft devoted to groceries and cannot be principally identified as a pharmacy. 

The first round of 60 approvals will include 12 independent grocers and be distributed across four geographic zones. Ed Clark further clarified that the rules are set so that at least 3 large grocery chains and 3 independent operations will participate in the first round.

Grocers will be able to sell beer by the six-pack or smaller packages. No individual container can be larger than 750 ml and alcohol content will be capped at 7.1% ABV. As the Toronto Star reported today, 20% of shelf space will be set aside for craft brewers.

Premier Wynne leaned heavily on the goal of keeping prices down as a reason for leaving the Beer Store (you can read the full agreement here) and it's foreign-owned major owners in its dominant position. Clark estimated that when fully implemented the beer in grocery stores scheme will represent 10 - 15% of beer sales in Ontario. 

The government's goal is to have 150 grocery stores approved to sell beer by May 2017 and then to decide how and when to bring another 300 stores into the system. 

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David Ort is the web editor at PostCity.com and the author of The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook. Check out his site, follow him on Instagram and Twitter for more great beer and food content. Have a story idea? Get in touch at davidort@postcity.com.

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