Cheers! Here’s to cider at your local supermarket!

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60 groceries across Ontario will being sales immediately

Some 60 grocery stores, already selling beer across the province, will be allowed to sell cider as well, effective immediatly,  the Ontario government announced on Thursday.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement at Sobeys Northfield in Waterloo. 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.

Wynne said: “This summer, people can, for the first time, buy cider as well as beer in grocery stores across Ontario. As part of our shakeup of beverage alcohol sales, we are making it more convenient to buy cider, while expanding its availability in a socially responsible way. We are also increasing opportunities for our province’s fast-growing craft producers, who have turned locally made cider into one of Ontario’s emerging success stories.”

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The LCBO also launched on Thursday a request for bids for 70 additional grocery stores to sell wine, beer and cider starting this fall.

Expanding access

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.

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Thomas Wilson, Chair, Ontario Craft Cider Associatio, said: “Ontario’s craft cider producers are delighted to have our products available alongside beer in grocery stores. We are thrilled with the opportunities government has provided to open up our local products to reach Ontario consumers. These opportunities help us move forward on our vision to further our world-class cider industry using local fruit from Ontario farmers, creating jobs in local communities across the province.”

Fuelling growht

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.

  • Introducing cider and wine to grocery stores was part of the final recommendations from the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets chaired by Ed Clark.
  • The government conducted extensive industry consultations to define a fair and socially responsible model for beer, wine and cider sales in grocery stores.
  • Ontario is working to have beer and cider available for sale in up to 150 grocery stores byMay 1, 2017. Wine will be introduced alongside beer in up to 300 grocery stores, starting with 70 additional stores in the fall of 2016. Ultimately, up to 450 grocery stores provincewide could sell beer and cider.
  • Interested grocery retailers can register for the open and transparent request for bids run by the LCBO at Biddingo under LCBO RFB # 2016-010. The deadline for submissions is August 5. A third-party Fairness Commissioner will oversee the bidding process. – CINEWS
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