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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Buy Your Beau's Online... AGCO Says NO Go!

The news you are about to read is not pleasant. In fact, it stinks. Bloody Ontario and their damn archaic alcohol rules and regulations.

The awesome folks at Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. have been talking about a new and exciting program for a number of weeks  that was launched today - Buy Your Beau's Online (BYBO). The delivery program allowed individuals to pre-order their Beau's beer, or merchandise online, which  would then be delivered to Ottawa area homes by Operation Come Home,  a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting street youth. There was to be a $15 delivery fee that would go straight to charity. You can read more about the program here.

I know right! A great idea! A forward thinking idea! Imagine, adults being able to order their beer from a brewery and have it delivered to their home with some of the proceeds going to charity - everybody wins!

Well, immediately after Beau's launched BYBO earlier today, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) promptly shut it down. The reason, according to a blog post written by Beau's Co-Founder Steve Beauchense, was this:

That’s right, after less than a day of operation, BYBO has been closed, after another brewery (we weren’t told which one) complained. The complaint has nothing to do with the service or the fact that at-risk youth were involved, but over a technicality involving what I believe to be a typo in the regulations around home beer delivery services.

Brutal right?

Beauchense went on to provide more insight into the situation with the following paragraph:

Our retail store operates as an authorized beer store by the LCBO, but the regulation around home delivery uses the wording ‘operated' instead of ‘authorized’, which is how it is worded to allow us to sell to special occasion permit holders, and retail customers. It is interesting to note that the Beer Store, which is not operated by the LCBO or government is somehow allowed to sell to home delivery services.

I was able to reach Beauchesne by phone shortly after the news broke, and although he and the rest of the Beau's team are upset with this, they pledge to do what they can to ensure BYBO happens. "Obviously we don't have a team of lawyers, so our ability to fight this is limited," said Beauchesne. "We will work with Operation Come Home to see what options are available to us."

Beauchesne did tell me that they just found out that Operation Come Home can appeal this decision to the AGCO, which would allow them to find out the identity of the complainant. "The AGCO approved the delivery licence application knowing how the operation would work, and all it took was one complaint..." Operation Come Home does have the delivery licence, but the wording of the regulation ultimately means that they would have to purchase the beer from The Beer Store in order to deliver it, a place where Beau's isn't available.

The saddest thing about all of this is the youth who would benefit most from this. "We had two youths ready to go, so this hurts," said Beauchesne.

Now, to the brewery out there that complained (based on what was written in Beauchense's blog post) - you should be ashamed of yourself. Beau's, since they've bursted onto the Ontario craft brewing scene, have done nothing but come up with great ideas. Ideas that essentially benefit the Ontario beer drinker. This is why they are successful. There is no room for petty jealously. Focus on your own business model and worry less about what other innovative and inspiring breweries are doing. You'll never get ahead with this attitude.

Readers and beer drinkers of this province - if this story irks you as much as it does me, please contact your local MPP and let them know.

1 comment:

3 Dog Brewery said...

I hope Beaus will appeal this decision by the AGCO. This is so wrong in every way.

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