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Wine

Would you support the free-market retailing of alcohol in Ontario?

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This is Gremolata's Discussion of the Day for June 24, 2009.

So, with a government operated distribution system for alcohol, we find ourselves with a stand-off with a union and no booze for the busy summer tourism months. Many people are calling for reforms to how we sell and distribute alcohol in Ontario. Should we let private retailers like grocery stores and convenience marts sell alcohol? Perhaps privately-run wine stores?

Should we have a free-market retail environment for alcohol sales in Ontario? Or keep it the way things are? What do you think?
Post Reply By James in ETOBICOKE on 6/23/2009 11:46:07 PM

Absolutely. For years I have wondered why we can't do all of our purchases at one spot. We go to visit family in Florida every Winter and it is so nice to do all of your shopping in one place. The Whole Foods Market in Palm Beach is great. You can get your meat, organic veggies, and then pair it to wines - all in store. I think Ontario producers would sell more wine if it was left up to business people as oppoased to government - and this would only help to boost our domestic product more! Not to mention, a competetive market woul help pricing! Get rid of the LCBO!
Post Reply By Greg in TORONTO on 6/24/2009 10:42:49 AM

There are three main groups of people who seriously think the LCBO should be privatized:

Libertarian whackjobs who think "the free market" is some sort of magic force and haven't been paying attention to what "the free market" has done to the global economy

Elitist wine snobs who think that without the LCBO it will be easier to get their hands on some small production Chateau Prétentieux Ordures Grand Cru through private stores vs. the current consignment goat rodeo, based on the experiences of friends who live in Alberta this is something of a false hope

Drunks
Post Reply By Norm in EAST YORK on 6/24/2009 11:31:56 AM

I used to think it would be better if we had wine/beer/spirits in grocery stores, gas stations etc like pretty much everywhere else. However I have to say--in my years of traveling to all sorts of other countries and big cities (ie: London, NYC)I have found the selection to be lacking and find myself missing the LCBO stores. Take the UK grocery chains who have a lot of buying power and there is a vast selection of wine/spirits in say a large Tesco in London but I have to be honest....the selection in the LCBO is far superior (especially in downtown Toronto).
My friends who live in NYC miss the LCBO a great deal......that says a lot.

Food for thought! : )
Post Reply By Kathleen in TORONTO on 6/24/2009 2:29:02 PM

I agree with Kathleen. The selection at the LCBO far exceeds anything out there in other markets - in my opinion. But the pricing is a major issue! Still not as bad as Quebec where a bottl of wine is the same as a small car. Maybe the issue is the union? I mean, if Ontario is supposd to be the largest buyer of wine in the world, then they should get pretty good prices...no? Then what causes the mark-up? Is it employees? Is it government trying to balance its books? Eitherway, it would be nice if the prices here came even within a few dollars of what it is south of the border - instead of double!
Post Reply By Deborah in MISSISSAUGA on 6/24/2009 10:42:36 PM

The LCBO used to be the largest single buyer of wine in the world but that has not been the case for a few years, they have been surpassed by Walmart and Costco.

I don't personally see that much wrong with the pricing, I remember a couple years ago buying some NZ Sauv Blanc for what I thought was an outrageous $25 per bottle, then I was in the UK and saw the same wine for 25 pounds. The one thing that can be argued is the mandated floor price, we don't see the 4 buck bottles one sometimes sees in US markets because as a piece of government social engineering there is a minimum price per bottle they will allow, currently $6.45 IIRC. But really the only people who are clambering for the 2 buck bottles of wine are drunks (see above category three)

Some of the price is excise (sin) taxes, some of it is sales tax and on imports some of it is duty and other levees because when it comes to wine we still have a protectionist mentality.
Post Reply By Norm in EAST YORK on 6/25/2009 8:58:24 AM

Of course, LCBO only serves themselves, and they do nothing for the communities they work in. They don't deliver, give to charities, and so on. Everything LCBO do is a smoke screen for the selfishly corporate business practices.

Their glossy, expensive magazine is a joke (paid for by you and I).

Citizens of, and visitors to Ontario should be allowed to drink whatever they want (like the way Albertans have so much choice that us).

I don't buy the LCBO making it look like they protect minors from drinking, that they help protect the environment by charging a deposit on all liquor bottles (meanwhile, forcing a lot of restaurant ownwers to purchase additional cars and trucks so that they can return all bottles that once were taken away by a glass recycling company with ease and efficiency), the list of complaints I have with the LCBO go on and on. They opperate as if everyone is the same, and it's time for citizens of this Province to stop being oppressed by this corporation.
Post Reply By Richard in STRATFORD on 8/1/2009 9:40:32 AM

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