Wineries, breweries now allowed to open bars on-site

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Inniskillin Wines at the Brae Burn Estate, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Wine, beer and spirits manufacturers can now open  a bar or restaurant at each of their licensed manufacturing sites, according to a decision issued by the Ontario Government.

Previously, manufacturers were allowed only one bar or restaurant, regardless of the number of manufacturing sites they owned. These changes under the Liquor Licence Act will help small producers be more competitive in a growing marketplace. This will also improve the customer experience, enabling a seamless visit from tour area to store to restaurant, as well as making purchases easier and more convenient.

Minister of Finance Charles Sousa was at Inniskillin Wines in Niagara today to highlight the new and improved regulations for alcohol producers. He said: As part of its shakeup to beverage alcohol retailing, Ontario is cutting red tape for small businesses and increasing convenience and choice for consumers. The changes announced today will ensure that Ontario wineries, breweries and distilleries, which are significant contributors to Ontario’s economy, are less restricted by unnecessary burdens so they can grow and create jobs.”

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Del Rollo, Director of Hospitality, Inniskillin Estate Winery, said: “We are excited as these changes allow us to better serve the consumer and become more competitive with winery experiences around the world. Just as our Ontario VQA wines have shown they compete with the great wines of the world – so now will our winery experiences.” Additional regulatory changes to the Liquor Licence Act that came into effect July 1 include:

Allowing customers to bring sealed, unopened liquor from a manufacturer’s retail store into the onsite restaurant or bar; Permitting customers visiting a winery, brewery or distillery to travel from one licensed area (e.g., store, restaurant or tour area) to another area while holding an open serving of liquor (e.g., a glass of wine)

Ontario is expanding access to alcohol responsibly and social responsibility requirements apply to beverage alcohol manufacturing sites. Ontario is also currently developing a comprehensive alcohol policy to support the safe consumption of alcohol.

  • The Act refers to an onsite bar/restaurant at a manufacturing facility as a “Tied House,” as in an establishment that is tied to the site.
  • There are over 1.8 million annual visitors to Ontario’s more than 150 VQA wineries.
  • There are more than 230 licensed breweries operating in Ontario.
  • In 2015, the craft beer industry estimated that there was more than $240 million in sales of craft beer in Ontario, up from $200 million in 2014.
  • There are over a dozen small distilleries in Ontario. Across Canada, the industry generates revenues of more than $744 million and employs over 1,200 people. – CINEWS
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