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Ontario Craft Brewers Welcome new LLCA Licensing Rules

Short beer glass filled with a light beer sitting on the edge of a table

The Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB), the voice of craft brewing in Ontario, is applauding the new regulations under the Liquor, Licensing and Control Act, 2019 (LLCA) that contain several new rules to further support craft brewers at this critical time. The regulations, which will come into effect on November 29th, represent the first meaningful update to to the licensing rules for beverage alcohol in over 40 years, and the OCB is especially pleased to see several of its key recommendations made as part of the update process are reflected in the final rules.

“The new LLCA regulations are a big win for the craft beer industry and are the result of sustained advocacy by the Association,” said Scott Simmons, President, Ontario Craft Brewers. “We are particularly pleased that these regulations build on the recent changes to allow the sale of craft beer at farmers’ markets, and will provide craft brewers additional opportunities to reach consumers, eliminate cumbersome red tape, and help the industry recover from COVID-19 and succeed in the years ahead.”

Some of the highlights of the new rules that benefit craft brewers include:

  • Manufacturers are able to extend their on-site retail stores to sell their products at temporary industry promotional events (IPEs), such as trade shows and festivals;
  • Manufacturers with an on-site retail store are able to sell anywhere on the production site where the store is located;
  • All licensed grocery stores and wine boutiques are able to offer beer for curbside pickup at the store;
  • Manufacturers are permitted to deliver the products of other licensed manufacturers that have an on-site retail store and a delivery endorsement will be created to enable this activity;
  • The temporary extension on retail hours from 7:00am to 11:00pm are now permanent; and,
  • Removing the provision that prohibits the increase of beer prices in December

These additional changes are the latest in a series of policies by the Ford government to support Ontario’s craft brewery sector, which prior to the pandemic employed over 4600 people, supported 9000 jobs in other sectors and contributed $2 billion to the province’s economy every year. These include freezing beer taxes until March 2022, allowing patio expansions without fees, permits, or waiting periods, and deeming craft breweries as essential businesses.

“The OCB thanks the government for its ongoing partnership with Ontario’s craft beer sector to help it through this difficult time,” concluded Simmons. “The Association looks forward to continuing to work with government to further expand retail opportunities, such as securing a caterer’s endorsement for all breweries, and remove red tape to help breweries recover from the pandemic and succeed for years and decades to come.”