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Eat & Drink

Hudak promises the sale of wine & beer at corner stores

Posted by Derek Flack / December 4, 2012

Hudak Booze Corner Stores OntarioHmmm. I don't like Tim Hudak a whole lot, but I do like booze and things that are convenient — you know, like being able to buy booze at the corner store. So I must confess that I'm on board with the provincial Conservative leader's announcement this morning that he'd open up the sale of beer and wine to grocery and corner stores, something which really should have been legislated long ago.

While one can point to the possibility that such a move would hinder the mighty LCBO's earning power, it's hard to ignore the fact that the current system is marked by misplaced paternalism as much as it is by dollar signs. Hudak indicated that he would not sell of the LCBO in its entirety, but that he was keen to open up the market to the private sector in favour of a more consumer friendly system.

Will the Liberal-leader-to-be have to get on board with this idea come election time? The power of convenient booze could be worth a few votes, even if the status quo has proven good for government business. What say you? Good idea? Good enough idea to sway a potential vote in favour of the Conservatives when the time comes?

Photo by Patrick Cummins in the blogTO Flickr pool

Discussion

68 Comments

David / December 4, 2012 at 01:06 pm
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But if you want choice, you'll still need something equivalent to the LCBO and the Beer Store. The end result is the corner stores will sell only the most popular brands and reduce the profits of the LCBO.
Ford4ever / December 4, 2012 at 01:07 pm
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Classic wedge issue. Who DOESN'T want beer and wine in the corner store?

He has no intention of following through if he wins. The Harris government (which had plenty of will power and which Hudak was a part of) tried this fight in the 90s and had to back down. That should give you an idea of the resources that will be mobilized against anyone who fights the beverage monopolies in Ontario.

giggity / December 4, 2012 at 01:12 pm
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I'm not a fan of the Conservatives, but the fact the Liberals and NDP wouldn't even entertain the idea is enough for me to throw my vote Hudak's way. There's a first for everything, I suppose.
Ben / December 4, 2012 at 01:15 pm
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This will not get my vote, but I do agree with liberalizing the alcohol market in Ontario. Pretty archaic at the moment. I do think that the LCBO is a great distributor, and the selection available there is very good, so I would not like to see it go.

On a related topic, let people drink on the street. Also a puritanical throwback that requires some rethinking.
Ford4ever replying to a comment from David / December 4, 2012 at 01:18 pm
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"The end result is the corner stores will sell only the most popular brands and reduce the profits of the LCBO"

That's not necessarily true. You'd see smarter cornershops tailoring their merchandise to the neighbourhood around them, like they already do. Could be a BIG opening for microbreweries and wines that get no love from the LCBO (and there are lot of those).

Jeremy / December 4, 2012 at 01:20 pm
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If you vote for a party based solely on this issue you're an idiot.

Would I like to see it? Maybe. Am I willing to pay higher taxes to get it? Not so much.
RG / December 4, 2012 at 01:21 pm
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Classic wegde issue indeed. We don't want a casino downtown but the corner booze buffet is okay??? The corner merchants get busted for selling smokes to underage kids, but now they will control liquor??? Don't worry about American style corner store robberies in your neighborhood-that is only U.S. big city T.V. scare tactics...guess what we are big city and about as American as you can get (and they film their TV here).

When will Who-dat pull out the gay marriage, gun lobby, anti-abortion cards?
Nolan / December 4, 2012 at 01:22 pm
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In BC they allow private sales but it's more expensive because they still have to buy their stock from the provincial distribution system.
mark / December 4, 2012 at 01:22 pm
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Good idea. If everyone else in this country can somehow manage not to become drunks due to beer being sold in grocery and convenience stores, somehow I think we Ontarians might be able to manage it too. For further proof we only need to look 2 hours north to cottage country where they manage to have beer and liquor sold in some grocery stores (under the 'agency' store designation) and they seem to manage fine.
hosers / December 4, 2012 at 01:24 pm
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That fact that you can't buy a case of beer after 5pm on a Sunday is worst than the holocaust. This province is stupid.
toooldforthis replying to a comment from David / December 4, 2012 at 01:25 pm
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Not necessarily. In Alberta the old ALCB had about 2000 brands. Today, with AGLC as the wholesale importer and private retailers, they have over 18,000 brands. Choice has gone up. And AGLC brings in more money than it used to.

Note not every location will have wide selection because the clientelle won't demand it (imagine that, responding to the demands of the retail marketplace). This is also true of the LCBO. Not every LCBO location has great selection or a prime Vintages section. Some of the outposts in small town Ontario have very limited selection.

In the end you'll end up with basics in the corner stores and a lot of higher end premium specialty stores that want to focus on wine or whisky or whatever.

Also note that if LCBO were taken out of retail and acted just as a wholesaler, it would still have its envious buying clout and would still make money off the wholesale mark-up, without all the expenses of running and staffing retail stores. Running retail liquor stores is not the role for government. They are supposed to be regulators, not retailers.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from David / December 4, 2012 at 01:25 pm
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Yet, people will insist that if we don't have beer and wine in corner stores, we're not as good as anybody else in the world that does allow it! Tell that to the Scandinavians, who have NATIONAL store similar to the LCBO that are the only places you can buy beer, wine and spirits at. They don't have a problem with it, why should we?
No / December 4, 2012 at 01:26 pm
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Hudak could promise to pay me to drink and he still wouldn't have my vote.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from hosers / December 4, 2012 at 01:28 pm
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Life does not end because you can't buy booze after five 'o clock-get a life beyond beer, and stop being such a drama queen.
Jim / December 4, 2012 at 01:29 pm
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Many of the Mircro-breweries are against this because they believe that they will have to battle with the big guys for shelf space, and they will lose. Have beer in the corner stores will drive less traffic through the LCBO's and as a result decrease customer exposure to their prodcuts. This is their opinion - Black Oak I believe wrote a piece about this.

I don't really care if product from the LCBO is available in corner stores or not. What I would like to see is full privatization so that store owners are free to sell whatever brands they want, not just what the LCBO dictates can be sold. Then we would see real choice like they have in Alberta.
Hendrix / December 4, 2012 at 01:34 pm
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I find it amusing that this would be an issue for anyone.
We have more important things to worry about than the convenience of buying alcohol.
You drunks should wisen up before liver disease hits.
Hudak is a douchebag and just trying to distract you, wino.
hosers replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / December 4, 2012 at 01:35 pm
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Thank you morality police. Didn't realize we lived in Utah.
Ryan / December 4, 2012 at 01:43 pm
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I would vote for Adolph Hitler if he allowed me to get butthoused from the corner store.
v79 replying to a comment from RG / December 4, 2012 at 01:48 pm
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Independent studies show that the corner stores are much better at carding minors buying cigarettes than the LCBO and Beer Store are at carding liquor purchases, so that's not an issue. The only downside of the whole thing would be the reduced profit from competition, but they could easily alleviate that by eliminating the pointless mandated price inflation present in Ontario (for BS "social responsibility" purposes) and raising the tax on alcohol. Customers would essentially still get gouged, but at least the gov't would get the profits to put back into services. Right now the LCBO makes it extremely difficult and expensive to import anything they don't sell at the LCBO, which limits the selection available to consumers. Anything to rid us of that burden, and the inconvenience of having to go to separate shops which can be half an hour away is a good thing. Corner store sales certainly don't make the US any more prone to alcohol abuse and drunk driving than Ontario. It's time to treat adults as adults and get rid of the nanny state.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from hosers / December 4, 2012 at 01:49 pm
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Look, if you want beer that badly, you can do five things:

1)Go to the planet Frenginar and buy a replicator so that you can get all of the beer you want

2)Buy a home brewing kit and make your own beer

3)Be an adult and realize that the world doesn't revolve around you having beer to drink all of the time

4)Get the frack out of Ontario and move to a place that will let you buy beer and wine in corner stores

5) Buck up, and 'quit yer bellyachin'-the world isn't as worse as you think that it is.
hosers replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / December 4, 2012 at 01:58 pm
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When left your Amish community and realized that beer wasn't actually the root of all sin, I bet you were relieved huh?
Simon Tarses' Mother / December 4, 2012 at 02:16 pm
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I raised you well Simon. God bless.
Todd / December 4, 2012 at 02:19 pm
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This is something that needs to change, but excuse me for not taking a neo-con's word for it. I've learned my lesson from the Rob Ford/car tax debacle and I can only hope that Ontario voters have learned the same.

By all means, if Hudak's the best man, vote for him, but don't vote for him just because of a (politician's) promise.
Ben / December 4, 2012 at 02:51 pm
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What I hate about visiting any jurisdiction that doesn't have the our nice lil LCBO outfit... it's hard to find decent booze. I find it's all crap brands and nothing worth buying... I'll keep the LCBO and the selection thanks
Bla bla bla / December 4, 2012 at 02:54 pm
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Shut the f up Hudak you desperate, pandering piece of shite.
r / December 4, 2012 at 03:20 pm
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how about tapping all the crack and weed sales for additional revenue. hudak, your a f*up.
The Shakes / December 4, 2012 at 03:25 pm
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The LCBO is one of the largest buyers in the world, and that purchasing power translates into savings for the consumer, albeit offset by much higher taxes. So unless Hudak plans on reducing the tax on booze (highly unlikely, as he would have to find some other tax to replace it with), the prices we pay will only be higher. Now tack on some profit for the retailer and we'll be paying $15 for a bottle of Fuzion. Much like Hudak himself, this idea is just plain stupid.
mar replying to a comment from Bla bla bla / December 4, 2012 at 03:25 pm
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co-sign
avas replying to a comment from The Shakes / December 4, 2012 at 03:35 pm
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what does this have to do with tax? i thought they got lower prices ?
Charge us more, LCBO asked French supplier
he LCBO is in some cases asking suppliers to charge it more for the products it distributes, according to records obtained by Global News.

Quoted a wholesale price of $27,481 for a shipment of French brandy in early 2011, LCBO purchasing officials asked in August to pay $31,351 instead, records show.

The order was for 180 12-bottle cases of calvados, an apple-based spirit, produced near Caen in Normandy.

The new price reflected a policy under which the provincial alcohol retailer applies a fixed markup from the wholesale price to the planned retail price, in this case $50.75. Since the wholesale quote plus the fixed markup fell below that price, the LCBO asked to be charged a higher price by the wholesaler.

Read it on Global News: Global Toronto | Charge us more, LCBO asked French supplier
toooldforthis replying to a comment from The Shakes / December 4, 2012 at 04:17 pm
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Wrong. Totally wrong.

You will see prices drop and selection improve. Moreover, profitability of the LCBO may actually improve. They still get to add on a "mark up" (i.e. tax) to the wholesale price. It's happened in other jurisdictions. Ontario is not a "magic" land.

In some models LCBO may still retain a role as wholesale purchaser and importer. In others it may simply authorize private wholesalers that seperately or together negotiate with manufacteres to buy/import goods (like in Alberta).

I don't know why people see this as some sacred cow. It's not health care, for God's sakes, it's just booze retailing. No reason why a government employee has to work the stock room and cash register for this. And certainly no reason to believe they're doing it more efficiently and effectively than private enterprise would.

Hate Hudak all you like. They guy is certainly creepy. But this is simply a good idea.
Sandman / December 4, 2012 at 04:38 pm
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Reminds me of that "Married with Children" episode ... "give us cheap beer & gas" ... so it distracts us from the real issues!
lolo / December 4, 2012 at 05:00 pm
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Ya'll are missing the big picture. Yes, beer and wine should be sold in the stores. I think the majority of Ontarians want that. The real story is that Mr. Hudack is pandering. They always do this. Make these promises and never go through with it. Politicians are all the same.
Rmund / December 4, 2012 at 05:25 pm
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I'd like the idea of a corner store selling beer and wine - if I can buy three tall cans of beer and three individual cigs.

frodo / December 4, 2012 at 05:41 pm
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this already happens in the smaller town in ontario.
Jeff Foxworthy / December 4, 2012 at 05:44 pm
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"If you voted for a politician because they promised you easier access to booze, you might be a redneck."
ding dongs / December 4, 2012 at 05:58 pm
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Ontario is running a 14 billion dollar deficit. Is this not the justifcation given for all the austerity measures (including compromising teacher's benefits, and union busting?) Yet we're willing to throw billions in revenue out the window for the sake of convenience? Where are our priorities? I'm not totally opposed to the prospect in ideal circumstances, but we're far far from that. This neo-con idiocy is beyond my comprehension. Totally irrisponsible.

Someone above said it best, this is a wedge issue, with little hope of ever coming to frution.
hudakhasmyvote / December 4, 2012 at 07:02 pm
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Hudak has my vote next election, i welcome his government, enough with wasting money liberals and their scandals! Also time to break the teachers union, most greedy persons i ever seen!
Gabe / December 4, 2012 at 07:10 pm
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HUDAK's a clown. He's making a promise he can't keep. I wish he had such passion around real issues.
jay / December 4, 2012 at 07:13 pm
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I live in Alberta, but visit Toronto frequently. Imported beer at least is significantly more expensive in Alberta.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from hosers / December 4, 2012 at 08:20 pm
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Hey asshole, I don't come from an Amish community, and am not Amish; I just don't think that having easy access to alcohol is the end-all and be-all of life. There are other priorities to be facing besides easy access to booze (I don't see you being that concerned about access to pot, now, do I?) One of the most important is (and should be) the province's funding of Catholic schools, and how we end that; to me, that's more important than some people needing to have access to booze from a corner store. But, I guess that some people are just too simplistic in mind to think of anything else important.
Me replying to a comment from Jeff Foxworthy / December 4, 2012 at 09:19 pm
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So true!
hosers replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / December 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm
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So you're an atheist then? Hope your mom (as noted above) doesn't see what you said there. She'd be so ashamed .
the lemur / December 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm
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As someone who lives near two corner stores, I like the idea, but I'm not prepared to accept Hudak as premier to make it a reality. I don't think I'm alone in this.

It raises a few questions: would this compete with the LCBO and if so, would there need to be rules about how close to an existing LCBO outlet a store selling beer and wine could be? How much floor space could such a store devote to alcohol? What about checking ID? Store hours? How would we define a corner store as opposed to a hastily set up store selling almost nothing but alcohol?

None of this has been mentioned by Hudak, probably because he knows he can't/won't achieve this kind of change.
Dispaced Torontonian / December 5, 2012 at 06:48 am
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I'm currently living in a place where booze is available 24/7, and where there is only a private market. What I see is low prices on booze, and high alcoholism rates along with high drunk-driving rates. Also, there are "niche markets" of cheap-beers for the alcoholics. We often have to deal with their drunken (and frankly, often dirty) antics in public, on transit, not to mention their thoughtlessly discarded cans and bottles.

I'm fully against a private market component because it will lead to social problems. It's a drug, and though it's a nice one not EVERYONE should be able to distribute it. The LCBO does a reasonably good job of encouraging local business and pride in local brewers and wine-makers, while offering a decent selection of global brands. As a side benefit they culture people by showcasing not only certain products but also encouraging Ontarians to think of booze as something to be consumed for tasting pleasure and as a compliment to food. All healthy-attitudes to promote. Now that I'm somewhere that's not like that, I really appreciate their emphasis on these things.

I used to think they were clunky... now I just think they need to be open a little later on certain days and be more open to feedback regarding what brands Ontarians would be interested to see on the shelves.
Dispaced Torontonian / December 5, 2012 at 06:56 am
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Also, higher number of brands to choose from does NOT mean a better selection. As I've observed here, other than whiskey (which is a local alcohol preference), it's actually pretty hard to get your hands on a decent selection of quality beers and spirits. Sure, there are aisles of stuff, TONS of choice, but it's a damn shame that most of it is shite.
zed / December 5, 2012 at 07:18 am
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The liquor laws in Ontario are archaic and are indicative of some long lost puritan ideal. It's pretty sad and so is this province.
John / December 5, 2012 at 07:46 am
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I don't trust anything Hudak says. Actually, I wouldn't trust Hudak feeding my goldfish.
The Shakes replying to a comment from avas / December 5, 2012 at 09:47 am
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Agreed that policy is stupid, but the experience in Alberta and BC show prices will rise, without any benefit to the public coffers.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1297725--private-alcohol-sales-western-provinces-well-seasoned-in-private-alcohol-sales
Simon Tarses / December 5, 2012 at 09:49 am
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That's not my mom, asshole, and I'm an atheist, yes, but I'm still not convinced that this is an important issue. There are more important things to be concerned about, as others have said, and getting booze at a corner store/wine store/ beer retailer isn't one of them right now, nor should it be at all.
hosers replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / December 5, 2012 at 10:07 am
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That's not what she said to me last night. She said her biggest regret was you and the fact that she can't get Labatt Blue at the Korean bodega across from her makeshift tent. Also, that you killed Jesus.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Dispaced Torontonian / December 5, 2012 at 11:25 am
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I agree with what you've said, but where is it exactly that you are living now? Also, what kind of booze is being sold that's so cheap? I'm willing to bet that the cheap booze in question is stuff like Mad Dog 20/20, Thunderbird, Cisco Red, Richard's Wild Irish Rose, and Night Train Express. IF that's so in addition to the cheap whiskey, then I'm glad we have the LCBO here to get good wine, beer, and spirits for us instead of the crap that will almost be certainly foisted upon us if we had a private retail system.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from hosers / December 5, 2012 at 11:27 am
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I know my late mother, asshole, and she loved me, faults and all. What the heck have you got for a mom? I'll bet that she regretted giving birth to a drunkard of a son.
hosers replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / December 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm
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I KNOW your mom too dear Simon. *wink wink* She was just putting on act for you because she couldn't deal with the unbearable weight of giving birth to a retard.
pants / December 5, 2012 at 01:12 pm
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The idea that one could buy mainstream beer (Molson/Labatt) at a corner store is not going to threaten your precious booze monopolies, ya bunch of lunatics. This province is ass backwards sometimes.
PJ replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / December 5, 2012 at 02:34 pm
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Are those real cheap booze brands? If not, you have an amazing knack for naming products.

Also, of course there are a million things that are more worthwhile than making it more convenient to buy liquor, but you could say that about anything. Doesn't mean it doesn't merit a discussion.
norm / December 5, 2012 at 03:42 pm
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Derek, the lemur has the insights on this issue. Booze prices will never go down in this province regardless of who is selling it (except maybe on the Rez). This was a Liberal platform issue when David Peterson ran way back then but never saw the light of day due to opposition. Would you vote for someone you disliked immensely for the chance that you might be able to get a jug or 6 pack at the corner store. "Not I" says the wise man!! He's pandering and desperate. Cheers.
Andreas replying to a comment from hosers / December 5, 2012 at 04:17 pm
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...worse than the...holocaust? :|
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from PJ / December 5, 2012 at 04:53 pm
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These ARE indeed real cheap (and true) booze brands, the lowest of the low among wine and spirits, and they're all displayed here, along with descriptions and the history of each: http://bumwine.com/

Anyway, I think that we should spend time and money on more important things like public transit, ending the problems of homelessness, and making child poverty history in Ontario over needing to get ourselves smashed more quickly. Also, as I said before, if people are so needy for beer all of the time, they should just go and make it themselves.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from hosers / December 5, 2012 at 04:58 pm
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Oh, like you're anything special, asshole? Do you even give a care about anything else than pickling your liver with suds? It seems that by your name here on Blog TO, you just want to be like Bob & Doug McKenzie 24/7. All I say about you is this: 'Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.'
Me / December 5, 2012 at 05:17 pm
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The fact that the Lefties here are so concerned and desperate about getting drunk explains a lot of their thinking.......
Zuul / December 5, 2012 at 06:01 pm
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Some of you guys sound like you should have been born in the prohibition era given your attitudes on alcohol. It's beer, not the end of days. No one is talking about getting wasted, just the ability to buy beer from a store. Sheesh. Do you need the government to help you make informed, adult choices for you too? Sounds like it.
Za-Moon-Da replying to a comment from hosers / December 5, 2012 at 09:19 pm
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Bad joke in every way possible. Also, I think the system we have now isn't the greatest but I'm not sold on the idea of booze in convenience stores. Mind you, it doesn't seem to cause such a fuss in Quebec.
Za-Moon-Da replying to a comment from hosers / December 5, 2012 at 10:01 pm
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I think it's time you release the valve on your enema.
Aaron replying to a comment from The Shakes / December 11, 2012 at 01:15 am
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If the "huge buying power" of the LCBO and Beer Store results in such huge savings and increased selection, perhaps we should look at applying this model in other retail scenarios. It would stand to reason that an FCBO (Food Control Board of Ontario) would be unmatched in its ability to provide a truly massive selection of low-priced groceries- more so than the current system of competing grocery stores. Think of the buying power! Likewise, The Clothing Store would clear the streets of all those nasty little stores that offer poor in-store selection and non-standardised prices. Let H+M and Zara run them on behalf of all clothing retailers- they'll give everyone of them a fair shake!

After all, we've all met some of the millions of Americans that flock to Ontario for the huge selection of booze and the low prices, haven't we? Because you just can't find ANY selection in the U.S.
Aaron replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / December 11, 2012 at 01:44 am
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It's because people like Pastor Simon Tarses- who have probably never left Toronto and who who think that all who drink alcohol "Just want to get wasted on cheap booze" - that what is considered sane and logical in most other first-world jurisdictions will never be accepted in tight-ass Ontario. The vested interests: LCBO and The Beer store monopolies, will enlist the help of MADD, Addiction Research, The Society In Favour Of People Exiting Their Homes Entirely Encased In Bubble Wrap, who all will cry out out, on cue "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!" "INCREASED DRUNK DRIVING!!!" MADNESS WILL ENSUE!!!!!"

Meanwhile, people in places like Germany- where there are no restrictions on where, when or how you sell/consume alcohol, will just shake their heads- and continue to sell us BMW'S Porsche's, and continue to outperform us- despite their crazy, ill-advised, non-restriction of alcohol.
The Shakes replying to a comment from Aaron / December 11, 2012 at 02:33 pm
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Are you retarded? Like i said above "ALBEIT OFFSET BY MUCH HIGHER TAXES".
don / February 21, 2014 at 05:19 pm
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If I require an alcohic beverage I am fine with going to the beer store or LCBO. I see no benefit in alcohol being sold in corner stores. Beer and Liquor stores are clean and well stocked and the prices you pay are due to heavy government taxing so one would be naive to think that would chance if corner stores sold it. Not to mention the loss of decent paying jobs and easy access for minors.
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