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Eat & Drink

Inside the Beer Boutique

Posted by Staff / June 13, 2011

Beer Boutique TorontoWill the new Beer Boutique in Liberty Village draw younger, hipper consumers? That's the idea behind this newly launched brand from the folks behind the Beer Store - not that they weren't already the default option for anyone looking to buy suds in this province.

Neverthless, this much hyped new retail concept is set to launch its first store in Liberty Village (21 Lynn William St.) tomorrow. Unlike the Beer Store which is pretty bare bones, the Beer Boutique actually allows consumers to grab beer off the shelves (think LCBO) and will host tasting and pairing events at a central chef's table. Notably, beer will be sold in singles as well as cases of 6, 12 and 24 plus an 8 pack mix and match option.

While the Beer Boutique may be less revolutionary than its creators may want us to believe, there's no denying the II by IV designed space sure looks good - as seen here last Friday when we were invited in for a sneak peek.

Beer Boutique TorontoBeer Boutique TorontoBeer Boutique TorontoBeer Boutique TorontoBeer Boutique TorontoBeer Boutique TorontoBeer Boutique TorontoBeer Boutique TorontoPhotos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

82 Comments

mike in parkdale / June 13, 2011 at 01:29 pm
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looks like the same old brands to me (at least from these photos)

it would really be nice if a 'beer boutique' featured some 'boutique beers'.

kevin / June 13, 2011 at 01:33 pm
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WE WANT ST. PAULI GIRL!!! BRING US THAT DELICIOUS GERMAN LAGER!
Dan / June 13, 2011 at 01:34 pm
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I'm glad they've recognized some of their shortcomings, but it really looks like they're just catching up to what the LCBO already offers. So now instead of going out of my way to hit up an LCBO, I'll just go to whichever is nearest to me.
je / June 13, 2011 at 01:34 pm
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I don't get it. Other than the brick walls how is this any different from the shelfed Beer Store at Dufferin Mall?
Krystine replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / June 13, 2011 at 01:34 pm
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Agreed. I hope to see some beer's I sampled at the Gourmet Food & Wine Show...surprisingly I discovered more new beer I liked then wine at the last show.
Joe Scratch / June 13, 2011 at 01:40 pm
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Address is actually 120 Lynn Williams St
Realist (mostly) / June 13, 2011 at 01:40 pm
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If they don't have a decent selection of beers available, it's not worth the trouble.
Paul / June 13, 2011 at 01:55 pm
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Same old mass produced crap in a nice(er) venue.
downtowner / June 13, 2011 at 01:57 pm
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Looks like mostly crappy brands of beer. They should carry more obscure and hard to find beers if they truly want to differentiate it. Don't the big brewing companies run the beer store though? If so they may not want to draw attention to better types of beer.
lame / June 13, 2011 at 02:01 pm
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Wow, Canadian and Corona! I haven't had Corona since I was in Mexico in '97!
john / June 13, 2011 at 02:14 pm
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Like others, I applaud the idea of a place to buy beer that isn't is soviet-tastic as the Beer Store,but so long as it's run by the same people with the same relatively limited selection, there's no point in going out of my way to liberty village to visit. I may be a left-wing pinko in Cherry-parlance, but oh what I won't give for some intensive deregulation and privatization of alcohol sales in Ontario.
toobad / June 13, 2011 at 02:14 pm
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hilarious.
I love how the interior is trying to replicate the look of all the great old buildings they destroyed in liberty village to build the crap, big box neighbourhood, that is there now.
phail / June 13, 2011 at 02:22 pm
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Only Beer store listed bullsh*t.

Take the beer off the shelf yourself?

WOW.

I guess the beer store on Spadina south of Bloor is a "Beer Boutique" too.

F this pathetic garbage.
Ratpick replying to a comment from toobad / June 13, 2011 at 02:24 pm
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What great old buildings got destroyed in Liberty Village?

Aside from the main Inglis complex, razed in the mid-90s, almost all of what WAS there 10 years ago is there now.

I agree, it was more charming as a wasteland, but I don't think any buildings got destroyed to build the little suburbia that's there now.
Ratpick / June 13, 2011 at 02:25 pm
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How about just putting beer in the corner stores already?
Levi / June 13, 2011 at 02:26 pm
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This is stupid.
Beekay / June 13, 2011 at 02:27 pm
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The reason I go to the LCBO instead of the Beer Store 99% of the time isn't because the shelves are prettier. It's because of what's on them. I guess I was right to expect to be disappointed by a new "boutique" from the monopoly chain owned by the guys whose mass-produced swill I wouldn't drink if it was free.
Bah Humbug / June 13, 2011 at 02:29 pm
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Why is there so much hate on BlogTO lately? The interior design is refreshingly trendy.
Jer22 / June 13, 2011 at 02:29 pm
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Its all about the hours. If its at least 10pm and some good hours on the weekend they will conquer. I especially like how it'll improve traffic flow through that already-congested neighborhood - its the Tim Hortons of the afternoon&evening. It has fabulous placement on the way to BMO field for TFC - hurrah wednesdays and saturdays.
mike in parkdale replying to a comment from toobad / June 13, 2011 at 02:39 pm
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"I love how the interior is trying to replicate the look of all the great old buildings they destroyed in liberty village to build the crap, big box neighbourhood, that is there now."

technically, the ground under this beer store was an auto impound lot before the recent wave of redevelopment, and a train car loading area before that (on the back of Irwin Toy).

while I agree the area is going 'big box', almost all the buildings from 20 years ago are still standing today. (yes, there are some exceptions like Inglis)
phail replying to a comment from Bah Humbug / June 13, 2011 at 02:40 pm
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exposed brick
+
nondescript shelving
+
a dorky chandelier made from pipes

does not

=

refreshingly trendy interior
belvedere replying to a comment from Beekay / June 13, 2011 at 03:03 pm
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agree. boutique my ass. r people in liberty village really that stupid to believe this is any different from a typical beer store??
Stuart B / June 13, 2011 at 03:09 pm
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You say exposed brick - I call it wallpaper.

Look at the fifth photo and then look at the guy on the ladder in #2
wha replying to a comment from Stuart B / June 13, 2011 at 03:15 pm
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i don't get it
Ratpick replying to a comment from wha / June 13, 2011 at 03:18 pm
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The exposed brick. It be fake, yo.

It comes in sheets, like wallpaper. And it makes a 7-Eleven-like space look hip and urban.

I bet those "wooden" posts were added for effect, as well.
Johnny / June 13, 2011 at 03:18 pm
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Until this place offers some world-class beer (not the swill that Molson and Labatts peddles) this store will be nothing more than your run of the mill Beer Store with bigger shelves. Where's the Top German imports (Ayinger)? How bout some quality US Micro's (Brooklyn, Goose Island, Stone)? Swing and a colossal miss.
akswun / June 13, 2011 at 03:25 pm
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Lets see here.... Beer snobs and haterade = BlogTO on a Monday?!
mike in parkdale replying to a comment from Ratpick / June 13, 2011 at 03:31 pm
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"The exposed brick. It be fake, yo."

the strange thing - the building IS brick. I've been watching the construction and the outside brick walls are genuine. Not sure why they wouldn't just use the inside of those walls, unless they need more insulation and all that 'practical' stuff.

also, I've never heard of 'Yanjing' beer (photo#3). I'm please to find one brew in the flicks I hasn't heard of.
mike in parkdale replying to a comment from Ratpick / June 13, 2011 at 03:32 pm
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^wow, my last sentence makes me sound drunk. I need to proof read with the auto-everything turned on.
Pants on Fire / June 13, 2011 at 03:43 pm
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can I still get my Bud Light ?
raymeh / June 13, 2011 at 03:45 pm
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can i bring all my empties with me to the party? lulz.
jason / June 13, 2011 at 03:53 pm
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Give us new and interesting beers or I will continue to buy my beer at the LCBO(where I can sometimes find new and interesting beers)
Jason Kucherawy / June 13, 2011 at 04:02 pm
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I hope they stock plenty of micro brews and craft beers. Will they be selling casks? So far the place looks nice, but would look nicer without the big beer brands in there. Let's start supporting the small breweries - they're making better beer!
uh, no replying to a comment from Jason Kucherawy / June 13, 2011 at 04:13 pm
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The Beer Store does not want our small beer buddies to succeed.

This Beer Boutique is a sad attempt to look charming and down to earth.

It's literally just another Beer Store with the same old crap brands, lousy selection of smaller beers, zero selection of unique craft beers.
Andre / June 13, 2011 at 05:13 pm
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Corner stores in Quebec have more kinds of beer than any LCBO I went to so far.
chillax / June 13, 2011 at 05:20 pm
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What's with all the vitirol for this place?

A Beer Store location in Liberty Village = great idea. Who really cares about the interior?

Sandman / June 13, 2011 at 06:51 pm
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Looks like an LCBO ....
Paulsboutique / June 13, 2011 at 07:56 pm
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Both the LCBO and The Beer Store are conservative on their beer purchasing choices. This place wont be any different.

The LCBO needs a more aggressive purchasing model, with a lot more flexibility and sensibility to both global/local trends and standards. At present they seem to be 8+ years in the dark with a very small amount of room for flux.

In fact I do believe that the LCBO has shortened their beer buying list of late and is relying more on their advertising to carry them. The Beer Store hasn't really gotten better or worse of late.
Sean / June 13, 2011 at 08:13 pm
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Will they accept wine bottle empties?
Steve / June 13, 2011 at 08:34 pm
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Nice photos, well done. I would disagree with the store being "much hyped"; maybe if you lived in the immediate hood you might have heard something, but I don't recall reading anything about this initiative, anywhere.
simuls / June 13, 2011 at 09:16 pm
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FYI, they will NOT be accepting empties. So much for their support of urban eco-conscious people. Almost the exact same selection as regular Beer Stores, so it's nothing new in any way, shape or form. Totally, massively, disappointing.
jesus replying to a comment from simuls / June 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm
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who gives a shit, I throw my empties in the garbage
david / June 14, 2011 at 01:56 am
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who cares, you can only buy beer at the beer store or the lcbo (besides amsterdam and such)
relax the liquor laws and that will be a story. this is a waste of time.
Japhet / June 14, 2011 at 03:42 am
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I'm not a Beer Store supporter but as another fellow pointed out, hours are key. Let them be open when I'm in the area and I will buy beer.

Also, I was contacted by whomever's representing their Twitter and told that their selection of provincial craft brands will improve this year.

Let's wait and see.
trevor / June 14, 2011 at 06:51 am
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the beer store's gone post-gay!
James / June 14, 2011 at 08:11 am
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Who cares if it attracts a "hipper" consumer, is that all this city thinks of..they can open a hundred different beer stores, but the truth is liquor in Ontario SUCKS...there is no selection and a new building with a catchy name can't change that....BORING....
Realist (mostly) replying to a comment from Andre / June 14, 2011 at 08:19 am
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When I lived in Wisconsin, I used to go to a coffee shop with a better selection of beer than nearly every LCBO and Beer Store.
hammy / June 14, 2011 at 09:18 am
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im just glad to have the lcbo and now a beer store a baseball throw from my balcony.

smd
Chris / June 14, 2011 at 10:13 am
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This a very ironic development, considering that the Beer Store, as a PRIVATE COMPANY owned by Molson/Coors, they charge lots extra for shelf space and distribution to independent breweries which they are now "showcasing" in this Beer Boutique.

They can kiss my ass. This private company is the reason we can't buy liquor in the corner store like most of the rest of the world.
Andy / June 14, 2011 at 10:29 am
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I think it's great that The Beer Store is trying out a different store experience in Liberty Village - And I'm assuming now we can get 12-packs and 24-packs as well (unlike at the LCBO on the other side)
handfed replying to a comment from Paulsboutique / June 14, 2011 at 10:37 am
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re: "The LCBO needs a more aggressive purchasing model, with a lot more flexibility and sensibility to both global/local trends"

No. The people who run the LCBO need to be arrested and thrown in jail. These are the modern mafia of Ontario
Walter / June 14, 2011 at 10:42 am
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I agree with the comments that the beer store does not make entry easy for small craft brewers, who have to essentially pay large ($100K+) fees to their competition in order to sell their product. They keep saying they welcome craft brewers but make no efforts to truly make the beer store a more accessable sales venue for them. And while they carry a wide variety of products, they carry very little that would be considered world class craft beers.

Still hoping they decide to start doing more with these stores then just selling the same boring product in a fancy store.
Kris / June 14, 2011 at 10:53 am
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All of you are complete idiots. Try embracing something rather than hating on it. If you see the finished space in person, it's absolutely amazing & I applaud the Beer Store for opening this concept store- I hope it works out for them.
lowrez replying to a comment from Kris / June 14, 2011 at 11:27 am
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Wake up, you idiot. Virtually everyone here is complaining about the false sense of variety the Beer Store is trying to foist on us, not the interior design or whatever (which is very lazy tbh).
lowrez replying to a comment from Kris / June 14, 2011 at 11:33 am
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The negativity here is 100% legitimate.

The conglomerates that run The Beer Store present craft brewers with prohibitive barriers (huge fees) to selling their goods in-store. This is anti-competitive behaviour that hurts consumers and they should NOT be rewarded with praise.
ttraveller / June 14, 2011 at 12:02 pm
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Lots of deep seated frustration and angst here. The Ontario beer market is an oligopoly and all oligopolies (eg, telecommunication before Harper overruled the CRTC) treat their customers like retarded, spoiled infants. On the other hand, how many of us have written to the pols and made this into an election issue? Where is the BlogTo on-line poll asking if we think the LCBO should be privatized? Like many posts, this suggestion will probably be censored by BlogTo.
mrs piggy / June 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm
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this is what you get folks when you allow rob ford to be mayor

how is he still mayor?

we need to impeach him so that we can fix my blessed liberty village before it becomes the next burbs.

CASIE STEWART / June 14, 2011 at 12:40 pm
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It was really fun there last night for the opening!

http://casiestewart.com/beerboutique-libertyvillage/
mike in parkdale replying to a comment from CASIE STEWART / June 14, 2011 at 01:14 pm
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so I see a wall of Laker and Old Mill.

wow... Entertainment Tonight covered it? Must have been a slow "news" day.
steve-o / June 14, 2011 at 01:26 pm
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WEAK!

When do we start the revolution?

Moneybags / June 14, 2011 at 02:28 pm
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How do you expect a wide selection when Labatt and Molson own 98% of the Beer store? The remaining 2% is Sleemann/Sapporo. Your only alternative is to buy your booze from the government.
Beerisgood / June 14, 2011 at 04:51 pm
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Bitch, bitch bitch. That's all you people do on here. It's a beer store that sells beer. Works for me.
Beerisgood / June 14, 2011 at 04:56 pm
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And also, what exactly in Liberty Village is "big box"?? Do you know what a big box store is?? I haven't seen a Wal-Mart, Home Depot or Best Buy in LV, so I disagree with the comment(s) above.
Beerisshit replying to a comment from Beerisgood / June 14, 2011 at 05:25 pm
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Yes Mr. Good, we bitch because we love being fed garbage soda pop suds for beer. Run by uber aggressive monopolistic marketing heavy twats supported by our government.

Typical fucking coaster response, Mr. Good. You're a fucking coaster. Why are you commenting? Coaster.
truth sucks / June 14, 2011 at 05:25 pm
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D-bag beer store for D-bag Liberty Village residents. Enough said.
rada / June 14, 2011 at 05:33 pm
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Despite my best intentions to see this store today for myself without any expectations I was sorely disappointed at the variety offered. The criticisms noted in the above comments are definitely valid.

It does, however, make buying beer a much more civil experience and this should be the model the Beer Store follows in similar neighbourhoods moving forward. Also, it is staffed by pretty girls, so win.
Beerisgood replying to a comment from Beerisshit / June 14, 2011 at 09:12 pm
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So...am I a Coaster? I'm not quite clear on that...your response was so vague. Time to chill out a little. Perhaps have a beer to soothe those nerves of yours?
lowrez replying to a comment from Beerisgood / June 14, 2011 at 10:20 pm
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"And also, what exactly in Liberty Village is "big box"?? Do you know what a big box store is?? I haven't seen a Wal-Mart, Home Depot or Best Buy in LV, so I disagree with the comment(s) above. "

You seem to be ignoring the big single-storey, single-use Metro grocery store with surface parking lot and the strip mall right next to it.

I'm not saying these make the entire neighbourhood "suburban" (they don't), but these elements themselves are undeniably suburban in nature.
toobad replying to a comment from Beerisgood / June 15, 2011 at 12:38 am
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^^^ what he said!
It's the gentrification/suburbanization and, basically, destruction of yet another unique spot in TO that is upsetting.
baram / June 15, 2011 at 11:22 am
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It looks like, there is no big difference from LCBO
Beer_Lover / June 15, 2011 at 11:27 am
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I do not see the problem here. The Beer Boutique looks amazing inside and Liberty Village is in need of a Beer Store. Hence, problem solved!
simuls / June 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm
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Except they don't take empties - at least 50% of the reason for a beer store in the first place!
Vic / June 16, 2011 at 04:18 pm
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What a shame, was really hoping when this concept was first announced that we'd be able to go there to get some hard to find brews. Seems like the same selection so what's the point?
cillax replying to a comment from handfed / June 17, 2011 at 04:58 pm
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@handfed:

*clap*, *clap*, *clap*
mike in parkdale / June 20, 2011 at 01:12 pm
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I just went by, and noticed something interesting:
The Hours are EXACTLY the same as the LCBO.

Mon-Sat 09:30am - 9:00pm
Sun 12:00pm - 5:00pm

so they don't take empties, don't offer extended hours (even on a sunday) and have less kinds of beer than the LCBO that's about 300 feet away. Seems kinda pointless to me.

But hey.... if you can have 3 banks within shouting distance (TD, BMO and now CIBC) then why not more of them same beer too?
Munnemun / June 23, 2011 at 03:37 pm
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This article fails to mention that the storefront is in a parking lot of a stripmall. Hipper indeed.
Boo / July 19, 2011 at 03:35 am
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How is it I can buy the Quebec micro brewery beer, "Dieu Du Ciel" in Boston, but not even find it at the so-called beer boutique. Lots of Bud Light and Heineken to pick from though....

I was so excited when I heard that the province was relaxing its liquor laws recently, thinking this would mean beer being available at corner stores. It turns out that this only meant I can now carry my beer outside of the 'beer tent' at outdoor events. Wow. I'm a big boy now.
Fantomex replying to a comment from john / July 19, 2011 at 04:22 am
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No, you're a right-winger, because that's what right-wingers would ask for, and do ask for.
Andrew / August 16, 2011 at 08:27 pm
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Just curious, do they carry tallboys or singles of Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc?

I want to try it but I don't want to commit to a sixer. I just can't find it anywhere despite seeing it advertised. I'm going to be in Liberty Village tomorrow and I was just wondering if they stock it or if I can save myself the trip.
Darren replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / September 15, 2011 at 12:48 am
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Don't bother wasting your money on that Yanjing Beer. An industrial macro lager from Beijing. Last brewery in China that still uses formaldehyde as an anti protein settling agent. That's right folks....formaldehyde. The only Chinese beer that uses it. Besides there are better Asian beers out there.
anonymous replying to a comment from je / September 19, 2011 at 08:00 am
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It's different from the Dufferin Mall location because they will not accept your empties.
Rob / December 21, 2013 at 06:12 pm
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The selection of beer available in Ontario stores in embarrassing. Where are the great micro-brews from the US? (Dog-Fish Head, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn, Elysian, Stone, etc..) Where are the good craft beers from Canada for that matter? Where is there a decent selection of Belgian or Czech beer. What about other great brews from Europe like Mikkeller? We are living in beer ignorance Ontario.

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