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Ontario Craft Brewers Applaud Ford Government’s Continued Focus on Supporting Local Craft Beer in Alcohol Retail Expansion

Clear timeline on tax review and eliminating LCBO cost of service will help unleash craft beer sector.

The Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB), the voice of craft beer in Ontario, is applauding today’s news that locally-made craft beer will soon be available on more store shelves across Ontario, a key part of the government’s plan to build an alcohol retail system that finally puts consumers first and supports craft beer and Ontario-made producers.

“It is great news that craft brewers will be able to sell their fantastic products in more retail stores starting this year. We have been relentless in advocating for a new retail system that puts consumers first and makes it easier to find local beer and today’s announcement is a big step in that direction,” said Scott Simmons, President, Ontario Craft Brewers. We also applaud the governments commitment to complete its review of craft beer taxes by the end of 2024, and to eliminate the LCBO cost of service fees, as these two changes are critical to the success of the new system. These savings will help ensure that local craft breweries can invest, grow, and succeed in existing and expanded retail channels.”

The OCB has been a strong voice for opening up Ontario’s beverage alcohol retail system to give craft beer lovers the choice and convenience they want, and have been clear that that expansion must be done in a way that supports these 340+ small businesses and help them unlock the opportunities provided by expanded retail. That is why the Association is pleased the government has included the following items as part of today’s announcement:

  • Confirming 20% minimum shelf space requirement in existing and new retail channels;
  • Eliminating the LCBO Cost of Service until January 2026 saving breweries thousands of dollars per year; and,
  • Completing its review of all taxes, fees and markups by the end of 2024.

“This is another huge step forward in bringing Ontario’s beverage alcohol system into the 21st century and that’s incredibly exciting”, concluded Simmons. “The OCB has been tireless in pushing for a system that supports the 340+ small businesses that make up Ontario’s craft beer sector. We are excited and ready to roll up our sleeves to finalize the remaining elements of the new system, because if done in the right way, it will be a game changer for both craft beer lovers and the amazing locally-owned breweries right across Ontario.”