Beer is now available in grocery stores across Ontario. So far 58 stores are carrying beer, currently however only in six-packs or individual cans. Twelve and 24s must still be purchased at the Beer Store, a retail operation owned by Labatts, Molson and Sleemans. Twenty per cent of allocated shelf space must be reserved for craft beers. Some stores are opting to carry more than the minimum for craft.
Chris Allott, president of Manantler Craft Brewing Co. in Bowmanville says having beer in stores is a positive all round.
"We think its great for the industry and the consumers alike. Initially it won't affect as much as it will when we start pushing our products out to grocery. Eventually though we hope to be right up thereon the shelf with all the other guys in the grocery stores. The way it does really affect us right now is by exposing craft to average consumers who haven't yet discovered it. Hopefully this helps to push Craft Beer more into the mainstream," he says.
Manantler brew and sell onsite but Allot says they don't anticipate any negative impact on their retail business
"I don't think it changes anything in regard to our event space, we still want to have a big space for private parties, concerts, and other events," he says.