Behind The Beer: The Truth About The Beer Store

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For Ontarians wanting to enjoy a point, either at home or at a bar, their thirst is likely quenched by The Beer Store.  The Beer Store (TBS), with its iconic orange and brown signage, production-line service stations and long lines of customers balancing empties for refund, is a well-known brand in Ontario – but how well known are the operating practices of the company?

On this page, we go behind the beer to expose The Beer Store’s foreign ownership and its effective monopoly over the beer industry in Ontario – and argue for a revitalization of the provincial beer market in a way that fairly serves the interests of beer producers and consumers alike.  Our areas of focus include:

Foreign Ownership — The Beer Store is owned by Labatt, Molson and Sleeman, but were you aware that these three Canadian companies are owned by foreign multinational conglomerates? Here we look at the ownership structure of TBS, and what it means for Canadian companies.

Blocking Competition — The Beer Store handles 79% of the market share of beer sales in Ontario, but doesn’t play fair with companies that don’t fall under the protection of its corporate owners.  In this section, we expose how The Beer Store favours its own – leaving small Canadian craft breweries to burden the cost of higher operating fees.

Prohibition-Era Legislation — The Beer Store and the LCBO were established under the Liquor Control Act, which came into power in 1927.  Here, we dust off the legislation that established The Beer Store and argue for a renewal of the “social responsibility” argument for modern times.

Ontarians Pay Too Much: Beer Store Pricing — Like many provinces, Ontario mandates minimum pricing on alcohol; however, the lack of competition in the Ontario marketplace makes The Beer Store prices higher than any surrounding jurisdictions.  In this section, we compare beer prices across provincial and national lines to see how TBS prices compare to more effective markets.

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