Cutting the Selection at LCBO Boutique Stores

Discuss beer or anything else that comes to mind in here.

Moderators: GregClow, Cass

Jamie McDonell
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 1:32 pm
Location: Ottawa

Cutting the Selection at LCBO Boutique Stores

Postby Jamie McDonell » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:57 am

On Paddy's Day, I popped over to the LCBO boutiique nearest my office to see what was on offer. It's had a great little selection of beers since the current manager took over last year. It still does, for the time being.

However, all but seven brands in the beer section were marked with red balls, denoting delisting of the product. The only surviving beer even approaching a micro was Steamwhistle. Word from on high, I was told. This is a big disappointment for me, but not too great an inconvenience. I get most of my beer direct from Perry, anyway.

Anybody else noticed this disturbing development?
User avatar
JerCraigs
Beer Superstar
Posts: 2955
Joined: Sun May 25, 2003 7:00 pm
Location: Toronto

Postby JerCraigs » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:20 pm

define boutique store? I have never found the selection at the smaller stores to be anything special.
User avatar
Rob Creighton
Bar Fly
Posts: 850
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2003 7:00 pm
Location: Dundas, ON

Postby Rob Creighton » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:38 pm

All LCBO stores have been given direction to delist small volume brands. In that even our (F&M) busiest stores do not meet minimum sales requirements for beer in any LCBO, we are now kept only at managers discretion. This new mandate means that a lot of micro's will be disappearing from the shelves soon. In one store we are set up in with the Euro wines because we are not allowed in the beer 'planogram'. Needless to say we will not sell a lot of beer in a section where people are not looking for beer.

The OCB display programs offer a ray of hope for the small guys but it is frustrating to see 25 columns in a store near us in the beer fridge area devoted to Coors Light 6 packs. Undoubtably, some marketing rocket scientist/moron was hired to provide better profit margins. It is becoming more difficult by the day.
User avatar
Al of Kingston
Posts: 277
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 4:16 pm
Location: Kingston
Contact:

Postby Al of Kingston » Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:01 pm

Rob, is there any ability to create craft brewers co-op shops parallel to the Beer Store or maybe the Inniskillin wine shops? I find it depressing to have to do so much work finding Ontario craft beer.
User avatar
Rob Creighton
Bar Fly
Posts: 850
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2003 7:00 pm
Location: Dundas, ON

Postby Rob Creighton » Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:04 pm

I too would love to have the option of a system of distribution for craft beers that could be established in high traffic shopping areas. It would certainly be a boost for small business in Ontario and would be spread across the province.

It would be soooooo easy to raise the money to start such a system given the potential return and would turn almost every participant into a money making operation as opposed to struggling to survive on a day-to-day basis. Also, it would clear up The Beer Stores sku overload because I can see no reason to distribute through them or pay their fees if we had a focused option.

The Andres wine store in my local Zehr's often has times where the cash register never stops ringing. The limited # of licences issued to Vincorp and Andres has always been an incredibly unfair system for all the other wineries who were never allowed to have any stores but it has turned those wineries into monsters. Imagine a system that would display and encourage small breweries.....way too logical.
User avatar
Belgian
Bar Towel Legend
Posts: 9761
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 6:15 pm
Location: Earth

Postby Belgian » Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:20 pm

1) Since when is absolute profitability a mandate in this monopoly situation wherein the province already makes ALL the overall retail profit - ie. why go and monopolize if you aren't going to also be politically responsible about overall distribution and carry low-margin stuff as well as big dollar stuff?

2) If the LC wants to uni-laterally streamline many quality products out of retail existence, then it's time for the LCBO to step aside and let small licensed retailers set up to handle the task. There's plenty of feet to fill those shoes, Ontario.
In Beerum Veritas
Publican
Posts: 442
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2001 7:00 pm
Location: Mississauga

Postby Publican » Sun Mar 26, 2006 8:56 am

This is very disturbing news. I plan to complain to the LCBO through the info line as well as contacting my MPP about this. As well I will ask my two local stores to carry certain micros that I have to travel to Toronto to pick up. I highley suggest that the Ontario Craft brewers lobby the Ontario goverment and see if that can stop the LCBO's plan as if the LCBO dosen't carry your beers you may find it difficult to stay in business with only Beer Store, pubs and your own retail store being your only points of sale.
Steve Spong
Posts: 130
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2005 5:52 pm
Location: East End Toronto

Postby Steve Spong » Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:10 pm

Publican wrote:if the LCBO dosen't carry your beers you may find it difficult to stay in business with only Beer Store, pubs and your own retail store being your only points of sale.


Also, keep in mind that the Beer Store would probably account for the most volume of those three, but they don't carry some of the more esoteric items from many of our craft brewers (ie. Sgt. Major, Wellington Imperial Russian Stout, Mill Street Barley Wine, etc) that really make the difference, rather than making inoffensive mass-marketable beers that in large part defeat the rationale behind micobrewing in the first place. Though there are some places that scrape by on the sales to bars and a retail outlet, the lack of any growth potential would be an enormous disincentive to even bother in the first place, especially those interested in marketing slightly less conventional brews.
"All right, brain, I don't like you and you don't like me - so let's just do this and I'll get back to killing you with beer."
Publican
Posts: 442
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2001 7:00 pm
Location: Mississauga

Postby Publican » Sun Mar 26, 2006 2:16 pm

I checked the LCBO web site for micros available in my local LCBO (Port Credit) and they had Black Oak Pale Ale, King Dark Lager and
Hockley Dark. I picked up two cans of the Hockley and saw that the price tag had a pink mark through it. I asked a sales clerk if I could speak to the manager and the manager told me that Hockley would be delisted from this store due to low sales. I asked about the Black Oak and King beers and he said they wouldn't be delisted for now as the sales of both beers was good. Sleeman original Draught is also being delisted :D. I guess I am part of the problem the Hockley Dark is not selling at my local LCBO as I usually buy my beer on the weekend when I'm visiting friends or going to pubs in Toronto and the manager told me that Hockley has been at the Port Credit LCBO for a year. The other reason that Hockley Dark could not be selling well is that it is a Mild style ale and it's a struggle to sell Mild in England where it is a traditional style of ale that once was more popular than bitter.

I found out that my MPP was pat of the Ministry of Travel and recreation so I don't think that he would be much help. I need to find out who is the Minister of Consumer and Commericial Relations and pressure him to convince the LCBO to reverse this stupid bloddy rule!! :evil: If I find out the minister's e-mail address I will post it because we as consumers have to do are part to fight this rule!
User avatar
JerCraigs
Beer Superstar
Posts: 2955
Joined: Sun May 25, 2003 7:00 pm
Location: Toronto

Postby JerCraigs » Sun Mar 26, 2006 5:13 pm

Publican wrote:I found out that my MPP was pat of the Ministry of Travel and recreation so I don't think that he would be much help. I need to find out who is the Minister of Consumer and Commericial Relations and pressure him to convince the LCBO to reverse this stupid bloddy rule!! :evil: If I find out the minister's e-mail address I will post it because we as consumers have to do are part to fight this rule!


Perhaps not, he might appreciate hearing how the OCB hopes to build tourism around breweries!
Josh Oakes
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2001 7:00 pm
Contact:

Postby Josh Oakes » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:32 am

I'm of two minds with regards to this situation. On one hand, I feel strongly that government involvement in the distribution and retailing of beer is one of the big obstacles holding back beer in Canada. It allows microbreweries to survive without making products that offer any particular appeal. In other words, the brewery has no incentive to differentiate with flavour. You have far too many samey microbreweries in both Ontario and BC and I feel it's best for the industry if some of those disappear.

BUT. The way to go about that is to open the beer business up to the free market. The LCBO is sort of doing this by cutting brands that aren't selling.

The problem is that they are not offering an alternative. It's their way or the highway. As much as the highway is for the best for several indistinct micros, there is a difference between a niche product and a nondescript product that is not recognized with this policy. Niche products don't sell big volumes as a rule, but they have a loyal following. Nondescript products do not. If the market was opened up, you'd have the opportunity to seperate the two. A few good beer stores could exist and the niche products would still have a venue for sales. People will travel for those types of products. Sales may drop a bit, but probably not enough to kill a brewery and certainly having some very strong outlets gives the brewery something to build on. Your generic premium lager/amber ale micro won't find those sales at the niche store any more than the LCBO and will ultimately fail.

But without opening up other options for the small brewers, all the LCBO is doing is spending your tax dollars to deny you the beer you want. Same as they've been doing with imports for years.

Last I checked, the Communist Party was not in power. Why do we still have the LCBO? What's the point of electing capitalist governments if you're not going to get capitalism? Time for a coup.
User avatar
Belgian
Bar Towel Legend
Posts: 9761
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 6:15 pm
Location: Earth

Postby Belgian » Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:29 am

Josh Oakes wrote:
BUT. The way to go about that is to open the beer business up to the free market. The LCBO is sort of doing this by cutting brands that aren't selling.

The problem is that they are not offering an alternative. It's their way or the highway.


Right, as a fat monopoly cruising on tax revenues, they're neither selling what they ought to OR allowing others to sell it.

As usual, it is easiest for them to make no real decision at all, while hiding from their obliged accountability - all of this a lame strategy to 'defend' their continued existence as an illogical anachronism in today's world.
In Beerum Veritas
Sambo
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2006 3:09 pm
Location: North York

Postby Sambo » Fri Mar 31, 2006 7:06 am

. Why do we still have the LCBO? What's the point of electing capitalist governments if you're not going to get capitalism? Time for a coup.[/quote]


Because we have a mixed system, where the Liberal;s and conservatives keep switching in and out of power: left-right-left
detritus
Bar Fly
Posts: 506
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2003 7:00 pm
Location: The Junction

Postby detritus » Fri Mar 31, 2006 7:41 am

Josh Oakes wrote:Last I checked, the Communist Party was not in power. Why do we still have the LCBO? What's the point of electing capitalist governments if you're not going to get capitalism? Time for a coup.


Yeah - and lets get rid of that pesky socialized health care system while were at it! :-)

-Josh
User avatar
Belgian
Bar Towel Legend
Posts: 9761
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 6:15 pm
Location: Earth

Postby Belgian » Fri Mar 31, 2006 5:50 pm

detritus wrote:
Josh Oakes wrote:Last I checked, the Communist Party was not in power. Why do we still have the LCBO? What's the point of electing capitalist governments if you're not going to get capitalism? Time for a coup.


Yeah - and lets get rid of that pesky socialized health care system while were at it! :-)

-Josh


If we had honest-to-gosh accountability for ALL our public funds (instead of this descending spiral of skyrocketing taxes vis-a-vis frantic service cuts) well Josh old boy, we might be able to damn well afford private health care, to support more competitive improved medical practices, to cover personal and family health insurance premiums, and still be well enough in pocket to support charitable health services for those who need them.

Don't be fooled, the OHIP money is not coming from anywhere but our own pockets, and a lot of it along the way is simply disappearing in fat-government administration, opportunist waste, and the ineffectualities of quasi-socialist systemic apathy.

Am I wrong? (I really like my last phrase there, it sounds so catchy).
In Beerum Veritas

Return to “Random Talk”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot] and 13 guests