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LCBO / The Beer Store

Should the LCBO be deregulated?

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Before prohibition, we were able to buy beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, cigars, etc. at the local mom-'n-pop convenience stores. Nowadays, we even have to go to a corporate store (IE. Shoppers Drug Mart) for a Presto card. Nowadays, its needs to be corporate owned to do business in Ontario.
There are still lots of 'mom-and-pops' around but it often difficult for them to compete with large chains on getting sales agreements for things like Presto. From ML's perspective, they sign one contract with with SDM and let SDM deal with the downstream to their stores.

In terms of selling product, small independent stores simply don't have the purchasing power of the large chains. The corner store buys product for one store's worth of sales; 7-11 can negotiate prices based on much larger sales.
Personally after the Beer Store contract ends, I would allow any retail outlet to sell any alcohol products that have 10-12% alcohol by volume or less. Basically most beers, wines and coolers. I would keep the LCBO for spirit sales, and all of the above, but also change policy that retailers could negotiate and buy directly from manufacturers and not be forced into buying from the LCBO wholesale/distribution monopoly.

Fifteen years after ditching plastic, LCBO to phase out paper bags too

Ontario’s liquor stores make ‘another step toward reducing our carbon footprint’ by offering no single-use bags at all. Cardboard boxes are still on offer, if available.​

From link.

The phrase BYOB is getting a new meaning at the LCBO: Bring your own bag.

The provincial liquor retailer is set to announce today that it’s phasing out paper bags, and will be asking customers to bring — or buy — their own reusable bags.

The goal, said LCBO president and CEO George Soleas, is simple: Help make life easier for Mother Earth.

“People will say ‘well, paper bags are recyclable, why are you doing this?’ The reason we’re doing this is because we feel it is a better option,” said Soleas, adding that the move is expected to save up to 190,000 trees a year, and divert more than 2,600 tonnes of paper waste from landfill.

While paper bags might not have the same ecological impact as single-use plastics, needlessly chopping down trees isn’t the right move, either, said Soleas.

“This is really geared toward the planet,” said Soleas. “It’s another step toward reducing our carbon footprint as a retailer.”

Some environmental groups have warned that as Canada phases out single-use plastic bags, forests risks getting depleted more quickly as paper bags are used as a substitute.

If customers don’t want to buy a reusable LCBO bag or haven’t brought a reusable bag from home, they’ll be offered an empty cardboard packing box if there are any available, as is often already done in stores.

While some customers complained about inconvenience when the LCBO switched from plastic bags to paper 15 years ago, Soleas said consumer sentiment has changed substantially since then. He pointed to a survey showing that 70 per cent of consumers favoured eliminating paper bags, and that 98 per cent already own several reusable bags.

“There’s always going to be some concern and some pushback but we are prepared to explain to people why we’re doing what we’re doing,” said Soleas. “I believe they will get used to it. They’re already using these reusable bags. I go to Costco quite often, and I take my bag with me religiously. And everybody else does.”
Having an environmental sustainability plan is something consumers expect out of every single retailer these days, says retail analyst Lisa Hutcheson.

“If you’re a retailer, you have to have a sustainability plan. It’s basic table stakes these days,” said Hutcheson, managing partner at J.C. Williams Group, a retail consultancy.

Still, changing hard-wired consumer habits can be a challenge, even if they’re environmentally conscious, Hutcheson added.

“Getting people to change their behaviours is going to be the biggest hurdle,” said Hutcheson. Repetition is key, “reminding them over and over and over again.”
LCBO sells reusable bags starting at 65¢ and UP. See link.


Which is the way anything but the lightest of contents have been carried since paper bags were invented. You carried you lunch by the top, your groceries by the bottom.
Someone pointed out in the article, the paper bags were somewhat pointless without handles. You had to cradle them.

The paper bags as imagined for someone walking home or to a party for that matter were relatively useless, it's not efficient walking if you're cradling something under one arm. I wouldn't overplay the safety risk, but it's not ideal (perfect is two hands free, but for sure, a simple bag with handles is easier to put down if you have some stability issues vs having to carefully place a cylindrical glass object in a handle-less paper bag down.

On top of which they're low-quality bags and don't hold up to moisture exposure, be that rain or snow.

But I disagree with ditching them entirely. 'sleeving' bottles is important to avoid breakage when 2 or more glass items are in the same bag.

I really think the environmental benefits of this transition are over sold; as if the reusable bags sold today don't have any environmental cost in their manufacture or disposal; and as if far more aren't made than needed; due to people
forgetting or otherwise not having a bag on their person when arriving at a store.


It's my typical practice to grocery shop about 3x per week, and to purchase any wine needed when deciding what's for dinner over those 2-3 days for which I am buying.

While I sometimes drive, even when I do, I don't always remember to bring the bags down with me.

When going out, I often try to get done work by mid-afternoon on a nice day and for an extended walk; sometimes camera in hand, the notion that I need to take 3 or 4 reusable bags with me on this walk and wander around town with them for 7-8km is rather irksome.

I'm ok w/there being reusuable bags and I don't mind a fee for disposable ones to discourage their excess use; but I do mind having the choice made for me; to very little benefit for anyone.
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We do tend to focus on little things like bags and straws, when obviously the real problems are cars and trucks. I don't mind fees to reduce their use, but discontinuing them entirely seems like a fair amount of inconvenience for little benefit.

Reduction of single-use plastic is worthwhile because of how easily they end up in the environment afterwards, never fully breaking down. Paper products generally don't have that problem. But as someone with a car (that's used mostly for occasional longer-distance trips, and the big shopping trips), while it's easy to keep reusable bags in the car, as a pedestrian/transit user, it's harder to think about keeping spare reusable bags on hand for the spontaneous purchase, especially in the warmer months when it's unlikely you can stash one in your jacket or parka.

So while I see the point, I won't know if this was all thought through for the urban dweller.
as a pedestrian/transit user, it's harder to think about keeping spare reusable bags on hand for the spontaneous purchase, especially in the warmer months when it's unlikely you can stash one in your jacket or parka.

That is a situation I face regularly.

It is coming to the point where I have more reusable bags than I need. Whoever thought cloth bags were a good idea was not thinking right. It would have been better to use biodegradable plastic on the shopping bags rather than worry about cloth bags ending up in a landfill.

I think I have around 50 cloth reusable bags at home.
I have been using reusable bags made from various materials for at least 25 years. I prefer cloth or nylon over plastic because I can toss them in the washing machine. I have some that fold up in to tiny squares complete with a closure so they easily fit into a pocket. It has become a habit to always check if I have one before going out. I also keep a couple in my bike basket and in my car.