Beer Store opens ownership to Ontario craft brewers

Company says changes are meant to improve transparency and competition.

TORONTO — The Beer Store is opening ownership to all Ontario-based brewers, large and small.

The surprise decision, announced Jan. 7 from the Beer Store’s current owners, said opening ownership makes sense for Ontario brewers and consumers, and will help its retail network continue to offer a low-cost advantages and continues to enable brewers to independently set the lowest average beer prices in Canada, while also supporting award-winning environmental stewardship and a world-class responsible sale program.

“Today marks a new era for the Beer Store. We heard from Ontario brewers that they wanted to participate in the management of the Beer Store and contribute to its future success. That’s why we’re opening up the system and making it even more transparent,” said Stewart Glendinning, CEO of Molson Coors Canada.

Under the new ownership structure, larger Beer Store owners (annual Beer Store sales over 5 million litres/year) will pay the same fees as the current owners to sell their beer in the Beer Store. Smaller brewers (Beer Store sales under 5 million litres/year) will pay discounted fees, as they will not be required to fund certain costs relating to capital investment in new stores or pension and benefits plans.

Ontario-based brewers with Beer Store sales under 5 million litres/year a year will pay $100 and receive a Preferred Share in the company, while those with sales over 5 million litres/year will pay $1,000 and also receive a Preferred Share.

Small Ontario brewers (who sell fewer than 1 million litres/year at the Beer Store) will pay no listing fee when stocking two of their products at the five Beer Store locations closest to their brewery.

Beyond those five stores, small brewers will be able to list the same two products at any additional Beer Store location at reduced listing fees, paying only the per-store fee. The Beer Store said this will encourage additional small brewer listings at the Beer Store, enhancing the ability of those brewers to grow their businesses and offer a wider selection to Ontario consumers.

Small brewers will now also be able to swap out a new or existing brand listing and replace it with a seasonal brand twice a year at no additional cost.

“[The changes] will improve the transparency and openness of The Beer Store for all Ontario brewers, including Sleeman, and will allow our input into the evolution of the system,” said John Sleeman, chairman and founder of Sleeman Breweries.

In light of recent media debate about the Beer Store, highlighted by coverage from the Toronto Star, president Ted Moroz claimed company officials had been quietly working behind the scenes to reshape its shareholder agreement and make the Beer Store more open and transparent.

“We listened and we acted. Today we’re taking new steps to make it even better”, he said.

Moroz said that at the same time as considerable media debate about the Beer Store had been taking place in recent months, Beer Store officials had been quietly working behind the scenes on how to reshape the shareholder agreement and make the Beer Store even more open and transparent.

The Beer Store currently offers 490 brands from 105 brewers at 448 outlets across Ontario.

1 Comment » for Beer Store opens ownership to Ontario craft brewers
  1. Daniel Rankin says:

    Sounds like a good deal for the beer manufacturers, but I am still not sure what this does for the in lower prices, more convenience shopping, and retaining of more revenues in our local economy. The big three don’t compromise anything and the beer store still has a monopoly. Ontarians will still pay the highest prices in North America for the golden liquid.

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