Ontario to begin selling alcohol in convenience stores and gas stations by end of summer
Ontario to begin selling alcohol in convenience stores and gas stations by end of summer

Ontarians will soon be able to buy a cold one from their nearest convenience store or gas station as the province relaxes its alcohol rules.

The sale of beer, wine and ready-to-drink cocktails will be allowed by summer, according to an announcement made by the provincial government on Friday. 

Premier Doug Ford and Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy held a press conference in Etobicoke Friday morning, announcing that Ontario is going forward with alcohol sales in convenience stores, way ahead of schedule.

“We are delivering on our commitment to give consumers in Ontario the choice and convenience every other Canadian enjoys, and we’re doing so even sooner than we had originally promised,” said Ford.

“In the coming weeks and months, people in Ontario, like many Canadians across the country, will have the option to responsibly and conveniently purchase a case of beer or a bottle of wine on their way up to the cottage or to a summer barbecue, all while having even more opportunity to support local Ontario breweries and wineries.”

The Ford government initially announced plans to begin selling alcohol in all supermarkets, convenience stores and gas stations in 2026, however, sales will now begin as early as August of this year. 

Ready-to-drink cocktails and coolers will begin being sold at grocery stores already licenced to sell beer in August and by October, at fully licenced convenience and gas stations stores as well.  

Up to 450 grocery stores across Ontario that are currently licensed to sell beer, cider or wine will be able to add ready-to-drink beverages to their shelves as well as 30-packs of beer.

In September, all eligible convenience stores will be permitted to sell beer, cider, wine and ready-to-mix drinks. Big box stores will be able to do so as well as of Oct. 31, 2024. 

Retailers interested in acquiring a licence will be able to apply for one in the coming weeks. 

Additionally, the provincial government announced that $225 million in public funds will be paid out to The Beer Store to keep locations open to help facilitate recycling and bottle return.

Further tax dollars will be given to the private brewer-owned entity as the province transitions to its new model of selling alcohol. These funds will also secure jobs from being lost throughout Ontario. 

The LCBO will continue its operations in wholesale and retail and remain a public asset. Hard alcohol like gin, whisky and vodka will continue to be sold exclusively at the LCBO.

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