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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In Touch with the LCBO

Every beer lover in Ontario has moaned and bitched about the LCBO at one time or another, so I want to provide you with the opportunity to vent. I want to hear your grudges, hear some positive or negative remarks and hear your recommendations. I know that it's not fair for readers out on the East and West Coasts, but we here in Ontario need to know how beer drinkers feel in regards to the biggest distributor of 'fine' beers in this province.

I am asking you, the reader, to click on the comment icon at the bottom of this post and type in a question that you would like to ask the LCBO. Anything goes. No swearing, racist or monopoly remarks or grandstanding. Just plain, old-fashioned questions. I will try to get them answered for you by the end of the week. I want to hear from you, the readers. Ask anything you'd like.

This is a great opportunity to get answers that you've always wondered about. Don't be shy!


Troy Burtch said...


What do you (LCBO) see on the shelves in a year from now?

andicus said...

Why are there so few micros available from other provinces, or from the U.S.?

Also, why wasn't Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA added to the general listing considering its rapid sellout as a seasonal offering?

Ryan M. said...

Are we ever going to get Rochefort on the general list?

Jesse said...

Ditto what andicus asked, especially about other provinces. You can get more Unibroue stuff in the States or even Europe apparently than you can here. There's also some great breweries out west (BESIDES Big Rock)that have absolutely no representation on the shelves (ie. Half Pint's).

Walter said...

As in other comments, I would very much like to see more selections, such as rochefort and unibroue products.

The recent move by the LCBO towards more premium products is welcome, but make sure your buyers are well versed in what is considered true premium beer. It would be nice to see LCBO involvement on some forums like 'bar towel'

Alan said...

Hmmm...why do you use phrases like "puper premium" for beers that are common in marketss not controlled by the LCBO.

John Pavlovic said...

Dear LCBO,

Why is there virtually no representation of several popular beer styles such as IPA, imperial stout, and barleywine?

Because of this, I do most of my beer shopping in the USA.

Thanks for your consideration,

John Pavlovic

Mrmanning said...

I want to know why the LCBO stores I shop at continually keep beer that says "please refrigerate" on it (like cameron's) in the warehouse that is not refrigerated?

Cam said...

1. Is there an Ontario beer quota? OCB? If not, why not? It seems to me that, while some LCBOs do a good job of stocking Ontario beers, others are miserable (see: First Canadian Place and Union Station LCBOs).

2. What's with the amount of shelf space dedicated to European lagers? Not that there's anything wrong with 'em, but do we really need 15 types of Polish, German, Austrian, Ukrainian, Slovakian, Lithuanian, Russian, etc. lagers that, in large part, taste the same? Surely freeing up some of that shelf space would allow for more variety.

3. Why can I get Propeller and all Unibroue products at the government-run liquor store in BC but not Ontario? I'm pretty sure Ontario's closer.

Uncle Bobby said...

Why does the LCBO insist on spreading premium product equally throughout the whole province when most of the demand is in Toronto? Why can there not be a few specialty stores for good beer, just like a selection of your stores specialize in good wine? If I simply want to buy a bottle of (for instance) Mill Street Barley Wine, but not in a gift pack, why is it impossible for a single employee in one of your stores help me to do that? How can you continue to be such a bureaucratic retailer? Do you not like my money?

Anonymous said...

Why do you not support the indigenous Ontario industry that is, after all, part of your shareholder base? Some improvement can be seen in wine (yet Australia and other importers still get more attention than Ontario vintners), but our local beer industry suffers through bad inventory, bad handling (not refrigerating product labelled 'keep refrigerated' - illiterate fools) and a total cow-towing to brewers with their own distribution company. Why duplicate what they already do? Step up, be better, the Mike Harris race to the bottom is over!

Troy Burtch said...

Just for the record - I do not work for the LCBO. This feedback will be used for a future meeting with the LCBO for TAPS Beer Magazine.

I appreciate everyone's feedback and I hope that more keeps rolling in.

"Support your locals"

jerc said...

What if anything would prevent the opening of a single Toronto based store that could carry special release products? For example agents that currently sell items on consignment could place products in the store in quantities and at prices that make sense to them.

Are there any brewers that have refused to deal with the LCBO? If so what were the reasons?

What are the requirements to become an import agent in Ontario?

Are there minimum quantities for beer, wine or other alcohol orders? (ie. Imposed by the LCBO, not the producer)

jerc said...

Are the criteria for choosing beer for the general list/special releases similar to the criteria for wine? If different, how and why?

Cam said...

One more thing:

Please send a memo to all LCBOs explaining that customers are allowed to open six packs and buy single bottles!

Some LCBOs let you, others let you with certain, "open" six packs, and other don't allow it at all. Give us a policy.

Peter F said...

Why do you keep 6 packs from the two big brewers in your coolers, while non pasteurized, craft beer, is left in over heated side aisles?

Uncle Bobby said...

Sorry, one more question, and it's going to be rude and unproductive: What the hell are you people at the LCBO smoking?

On the Saturday before the Super Bowl, my Globe and Mail had a glossy brochure from our friends at the LCBO reminding us that they sell lots of Bud Light, Bud Vex, and Lababtt Blue.
1. Why are you spending LCBO brands shilling brands that need no introduction?
2. Do guys come into LCBO stores and buy four six-packs instead of getting a two-four from the Beer Store? Unlikely.
3. I asked my wife -- who runs a graphics firm -- what a piece of printed promotional material would have cost. She estimated a bottom line, bare-bones, first print run price of $100,000 (including costs of stock and custom photography, art production, set-up, materials and distribution). How much did it actually cost you?
4. What was your cost-benefit analysis? Did you meet your goals for the Super Bowl weekend?
5. If you did not meet your goals, would anyone be held to account?

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