Ontario Survey

I'm in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
US border at Niagara Falls, NY is approximately 100km away.
Beer is not available in grocery stores, or any other type of shop. Beer is only available at "LCBO Store, which is the Liquor Control Board of Ontario store, and at "The Beer Store" (real name) shops which are owned 50/50 by Labatt's (which is owned by Interbrew) and by Molson. They are given exclusive private retailing of ALL beers in Ontario by a private patronage monopoly system. All beers must go through them or the LCBO. They are extremely politically powerful. You all can see how the free market is eliminated here in regards to distribution, thus affecting price and availability.
Most major beers in the world, and many microbrews are available at these two stores. The Beer Store concentrates on Canadian beers and major world beers (frokm companies who can afford the special "listing" (extortion) fees to sell to them , while the LCBO sells all types of quick selling beer.
Prices in Ontario must be uniform throughout the whole province. There are no restrictions on alcohol content and Canada is known for high alcohol beers. Even 10%+ beers are sold in Canada. Prices must meet minimum pricing standards. It is currently $24(CDN)=$18(US) for 24x341ml=8L case of beer. $2.25US per litre. Additional fees are mandated for canned beer. (To protect high paying union jobs from imports which usually come in cans)
The price for a case of beer is $34(CDN)=$25.50(US) for Labatt Blue or Molson Canadian (the popular beers). $3.20US a Litre. The cheapest is Lucky Lager at $24(CDN)=$18(US) a case. $2.25US a litre. A 4 500ml can pack of Guinness in cans is $10.25CDN=$7.75US. $3.88US a litre.
In Ontario beer may be sold from 9am-9pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am-6pm on Sunday.
In NY State beer is available in grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores, etc. A case of Budweiser (24 x 355ml) is $16US, or $1.85 a litre. This is the best selling brand. The best selling sub-premium brand is Busch which comes in 30 x 355ml and sells for $11. $1.05 a litre. Guinness is sold in bottle packs of 6 x 330 for $7.99US, or $4US a litre. Same price and size for Corona the best selling import.
Beer is sold in NY State from 7am-11pm Monday-Saturday, and 12pm-12am on Sunday (not all areas). Dedicated Liquor Stores may only sell wine and liquor.
A pint of beer (20oz or approximately 600ml) in Toronto is $5 for a domestic or $6 for an import at a nice restaurant or pub. $6.25US and $7.50 a litre respectively. Posh bars cost more. "Working Man's bars sell beer for as low as $2.5 a 341ml domestic bottle, or $6.6US a litre. By law you will not find lower price. Bars stop serving at 2am in Ontario, and take your beer away at 2:45am finished or not. Bars can start serving at 11am 7 days a week.
In NY State the prices are generally the same as in Ontario coincidentally. Must be the heavy liquor license fees in the US.
Bars in NY close in some places around Buffalo, Albany, and New York City at 4am. In others 2am. Many places do not serve alcohol on Sundays.
Hope this helps.
Reply to
Joe Bidwell
News to me, Joe. Canada must be a legend in its own mind. Somebody says "high alcohol beers" to me, and the two countries that spring to mind are Belgium and America. Canadian high-alcohol beers? Unibroue 11 is up there, as is the Terrible, but Dogfish Head WorldWide Stout beats both handily at 18.8% ABV (that's this year's, weaker version). Belgium's specialty ales (excepting the lambics, sour ales, witbiers, and the like) start at 7% and work their way up from there. Canada? Not a chance.
Bull. I don't remember ever paying $6 for a pint (20 oz. or otherwise) in a U.S. bar outside of Manhattan, except for certain extremely rare Belgian imports. Mug's Ale House in Brooklyn runs 20 oz. pints for US$4, beers like the Brooklyn beers, German and British imports, etc. Here in Philly it's between $3.50 and $5 for a 16 oz. pint, mostly towards the low end of that, and there are frequent specials. "Working Man's" bars are much cheaper, often running 'dollar draft' specials that push it even lower. Here, I've got notes from a NY trip last year (all beers 16 oz. unless otherwise noted): Corning -- Ithaca Nut Brown, $2, Paulaner Hefe (20 oz.) $3.75. Buffalo -- Edmund Fitz Porter, $3, Flying Bison, $3.50. Syracuse -- Cooperstown Stout, $3. New York City -- Otter Creek Mud Bock (12 oz. bottle) $2.50, Schneider Edelweiss AND Shipyard Old Thumper, $5.50 for the pair (special on Old Thumper), Brooklyn Lager, $3, Brooklyn IPA (20 oz., cask) $4.50, Heartland IPA (brewpub) $3.50, Brooklyn Lager (20 oz., in the heart of midtown Manhattan), $5.
Must be the heavy beer taxes in Canada.
Indeed.
Reply to
Lew Bryson
I'm comparing the everyday, as you call it "working man's beers" here. No offense, and trust me I am a specialty beer lover, but Joe Sixpack doesn't drink Dogfish Head or lambic beers. Joe Sixpack in Canada drinks Labatt Wildcat (7%+ alcohol), Lucky Lager (up to 10%), or in Alberta Axehead Extreme Beer (11% and cheaper than the rest too) The reason for the high alcohol contents of beer in Canada is not for some macho reason, its all about the heavy beer taxes. The taxes are now officially the highest in the world, but in Canada beer isn't taxed by alcohol content, only quantity, thus the reasoning is "bang for your buck."
Notice I said NY.
Reply to
Joe Bidwell
Maybe. I'd like to see numbers on how much of which Canadian beers are actually produced and sold before I'm convinced.
I also notice that you deleted and didn't respond to all the much lower upstate NY prices I quoted, nor did you respond to the relatively low prices I quoted in New York City. Dodgey, Joe, dodgey.
Reply to
Lew Bryson
Not quite. Most of the breweries sell beer directly at their own premises.
And according to
formatting link
Sleeman is also an owner of The Beer Store.
Reply to
Douglas J. Steele
A brewery is only allowed to sell beer outside the Beer Store/LCBO system at there own brewery. One store only. Not just that, but they can only sell beer at that location that is brewed at that location. Thats fine if you live in the neighborhood, but geez that isn't very capitalistic, and that sure is a major retailing disadvantage. How can you get customers outside your town if you don't want to get extorted by the Molson/Labatt/Sleeman (Sleeman is I believe
Reply to
Joe Bidwell
Sure, go to
formatting link
for the very extensive sales numbers, and go to
formatting link
for the provincial liquor tax schedule.
Reply to
Joe Bidwell
Nothing at
formatting link
on sales broken out by brand.
My contention is that the great majority of in-Canada beer sales are of beers that are between 4.5 and 5.5%...just as they are in the rest of North America. I haven't seen anything to convince me otherwise yet.
Reply to
Lew Bryson

I can't speak for other provinces but, here in Ontario, The Beer Store carries a couple of beers from Niagara Brewing, the Eisbok @ 8% ABV and Olde Jack @ 7.2%. Plus, a pitiful 3 of the many great beers of Unibroue from our sister province of Quebec, namely, La fin du Monde @ 9%, Maudite @ 8% and Trois Pistoles @ 9%. However, The Beer Store also lists their top ten best selling brands. I won't bother to name the brands but, their alcohol content is: 3 brands @ 4% 4 brands @ 5% 2 brands @ 5.5% 1 brand @ 6.1% If you want to see which ones they are, check out
formatting link
Neither the brews from Niagara nor those from Unibroue could be considered main stream brews that Joe Sixpack runs out to buy every second day. Ontario is the province with the highest population of all the provinces in Canada and, going by The Beer Store's own data, it certainly agrees with Lew's contention noted above "that the great majority of in-Canada beer sales are of beers that are between 4.5 and 5.5%...just as they are in the rest of North America".
Ross.
Reply to
Ross Reid

By God, Ross, I'm so filled with righteous gratitude that I might just venture out tomorrow and send you that video I promised you two years ago!
Reply to
Lew Bryson

You have convinced me. You are right. Its probably a taste thing. Strong beer turns the public off. Eg. Molson Export and OV used to be mass market beer, but not have been substituted by Bud and Coors Lights. I have always t hought those beers were for people who didn't like beer.
But I do stand on the hypothesis that kids and people on a budget drink Wildcat and Black Ice because they are $25 a case and 7% alcohol. Blue is 5% and $35 a case.
Reply to
Joe Bidwell
As for high taxes I believe beer is taxed at about 50 cents a litre,which is less than wine or spirits.Is that high (relative to USA)?BTW American micros are almost non existant here.
Reply to
mister2u
In article , snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.net says...
pardon me for jumping in, but...
Of course that's the case. The Canadian beer market isn't any different than the US market as far as I can tell: the large majority of sales are the large brewers (Labbatt, Molson) and their big products fit right into that range.
Just like the US, you do get regional pockets where the beer markets are bit more interesting (I live in one in Victoria, BC). But even here, the majority of our beer sales will absolutely fall into that range. In fact, I think we tend to lag a bit behind our American counterparts in terms of ABV. Our brewpub/craft brewing influence is almost entirely British.
Every brewpub here does a bitter, a sout or porter, a pale ale and perhaps an IPA (but I've never seen anything like the trend to "Imperial" IPA's here). And almost always the IPA will be "British" in character rather than the assertive PNW styles just to the south. Hophead IPA excepted, of course.
Barleywines and the like are starting to appear more frequently, and a few of the brewers are experimenting with some Belgian styles, but it seems to me that our brewers are a little less adventuresome than the brewers to the south.
all imo, of course...
Bill
Reply to
Bill Riel

Joe,
By strong do you mean high in alcohol or, lots of flavour? In either case, if you consider Molson Ex and Old Vienna to be strong beer, I'd love to watch your expression after taking your first wonderful mouthful of something like a nice local Wellington County Brewery's County Ale or a great import like Victory Brewing's Hop Devil. Now, on to your hypothesis of high alcohol beer on the cheap. You must be a "Blue" drinker since you're within 5 cents on that one. However, for a two four of Wildcat you'll have to shell out another $5.95 over your stated $25.00, 'cause it's $30.95/24. But sadly, it doesn't quite live up to your 7% ABV. In fact, it's a measly 4.9% ABV. Similarly, a two four of Black Ice will cost you the $25.00 plus an additional $6.95 since it is $31.95. Granted, it is closer to your 7% ABV but, still falls short by almost a full % point at only 6.1%. Life is WAY too short to drink crappy beer anyway.
Ross.
Reply to
Ross Reid
Earlier in this thread, Joe gave some examples: Labatt Wildcat (7%+ alcohol), Lucky Lager (up to 10%), or Alberta's Axehead Extreme Beer (11%). High in alcohol, forget the flavor - in all three of these cases, these aren't beers you drink for flavor, they're alcohol-delivery systems, nasty things with some minimal resemblance to decent, well-made beer. In the States, we call these things "malt liquors." At beer competitions like the GABF, being forced to judge these beers is a bit like having to sit at the kids' table at Thanksgiving.
Preach it, brother.
Reply to
Oh, Guess
wrote:
If by "people on a budget" you mean "street people blowing whatever they've begged that day on crappy-tasting strong lager," okay.
Reply to
Oh, Guess
I got this from
formatting link
, The Association of Canadian Distillers.
formatting link

Liquor Control Board of Ontario - Established in 1927
Off Premise Retail Outlets Top
Government Stores S/W/B 603/603/603 Rural Agency Stores S/W/B 107/107/107 Independent Wine Stores S/W/B 0/289/0 Brewers Retail Stores S/W/B 0/0/428 Manufacturer-Owned Stores S/W/B 2/52/39 TOTAL S/W/B 712/1,051/1,177
On Premise Retail Outlets Top
Licensees S/W/B 17,207
Beer Ontario $.5105* N/A $0.176 $0.0893 $0.6060 $16.40 U.S. $.5105* N/A $0.176 $0.0893 $0.6060 $16.40 Other & Cdn. $.5105* N/A $0.176 $0.0893 $0.6060 $16.40 Beer Coolers Ontario $.5105 N/A $0.176 $0.0893 $0.6060 $16.40 U.S. $.5105 N/A $0.176 $0.0893 $0.6060 $16.40 Other & Cdn. $.5105 N/A $0.176 $0.0893 $0.6060 $16.40
† The wine and bottle levies and the COS charges are calculated on a per litre basis. ‡ The environment fee applies to containers which cannot be returned for refilling by manufacturers.
Beer *Beer shipped in containers with a capacity of less than 18 litres is a flat 51.05 cents per litre. Beer shipped in containers with a capacity equal to or greater than 18 litres is 36.05 cents per litre.
Microbreweries (less than 100,000 hectolitres produced annually) Rates on the first 25,000 hectolitres of beer shipped in Ontario is 33.69 cents per litre for regular beer and 23.79 cents per litre for draught. Rates for the next 50,000 hectolitres of beer shipped in Ontario is 45.94 cents per litre for regular beer and 32.44 cents for draught beer. Shipments of over 75,000 hectolitres, 51.05 cents per litre for regular beer and 36.05 cents per litre for draught beer.
Note: Spirits are subject to floor pricing, wine purchased by the LCBO is subject to a Non-Discriminatory Reference Price, and beer is subject to a Minimum Retail Price.
Copyright © 2003 Association of Canadian Distillers
Reply to
Joe Bidwell
Lew,
I checked out your web site. So you're some hot shot beer expert, huh? :-) What the beer situation like in PA. I know they have a similar situation like in Ontario, but the beer store owners there are like the most powerful political lobby group ever (like our beer companies here) . Care to enlighten us?
Reply to
Joe Bidwell

DrinksForum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.