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Easier access to alcohol: Cider now in grocery stores in Ontario

Staff writer |
Ontario has expanded consumers' options for buying alcohol by permitting cider sales at 60 grocery stores already selling beer across the province.

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Allowing cider to be sold in grocery stores is part of the biggest shakeup to beverage alcohol retailing in Ontario since prohibition ended in 1927. The shakeup began with last December's launch of beer in grocery stores.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) also launched a request for bids for 70 additional grocery stores to sell wine, beer and cider starting this fall.

Eventually, up to 300 grocery stores - both large chains and independents - could sell wine, beer and cider. An additional 150 stores could be authorized to sell just beer and cider.

As well, up to 150 existing winery retail stores that operate just outside a grocery store's checkout will be permitted to move inside the store and share the checkout. These winery retail stores will broaden their assortment to sell wines made by any Ontario producer.

Ontario is expanding access to alcohol responsibly. The same social responsibility requirements apply to cider sales in grocery stores as beer, including standard hours of sale and rigorous training for staff.

Restrictions will also apply to ensure responsible retailing of wine in grocery stores. Ontario is currently developing a comprehensive alcohol policy to support the safe consumption of alcohol.

Cider is a fast-growing segment of the market. The LCBO's sales of locally made craft cider grew by 54 per cent in 2015-16, to a total of $5.1 million. Ontario's cider producers are thriving, creating jobs and fuelling growth in the agriculture and tourism sectors.

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