Pre-mixed drinks, 30-packs, coming to Ontario supermarkets and big box stores

Ontarians will soon be able to purchase alcoholic beverages as coolers outside the LCBO, as the Ford government expands where alcohol can be purchased in the province.

The government announced Friday that it is implementing a phased approach to expanding where consumers can buy alcohol and will add a larger selection of drinks during the summer and fall of 2024.

Starting August 1, just before the long Civic Day weekend, Ontarians will be able to purchase items like coolers and other ready-to-drink beverages at the 450 grocery stores currently licensed to sell beer, cider and wine .

Additionally, grocery stores will begin offering products in large packages, such as 30-pack cases of beer, a popular option in Quebec, the government said.

After September 5, all eligible convenience stores will be able to sell beer, cider, wine and ready-to-drink beverages. After October 31, all eligible large stores will be able to sell those same drinks, even in large packages, the government added.

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The new retailers will also be able to sell a greater selection of local, national and international alcohol products, the province said.

Click to play video: 'Ford government to liberalize alcohol sales in Ontario'

Ford government to liberalize alcohol sales in Ontario

“We are delivering on our commitment to provide Ontario consumers with the choices and conveniences that all other Canadians enjoy, and we will do so even sooner than we originally promised,” Premier Doug Ford said in a news release.

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Ford had originally promised last December that alcohol would be sold in convenience stores by 2026.

“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 the way to the cabin or a summer barbecue . all while having even more opportunities to support local Ontario breweries and wineries,” Ford said.

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“They’re excited to know they’re finally being treated like adults.”

Meanwhile, the government said it will provide The Beer Store with up to $225 million to make “necessary investments” over the next 19 months. This includes funding to protect jobs and keep places open for province-wide recycling and bottle return availability until at least 2031.

The Beer Store reacted to Ford’s announcement, saying it “looks forward to the next stage of The Beer Store’s evolution.”

Today is an important milestone that reaffirms The Beer Store’s crucial role as Ontario’s leading beer distributor. “This announcement underscores our commitment to responsible beer distribution and environmental stewardship,” said CEO Roy Benin.

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The LCBO will remain a public good and will be the exclusive supplier of hard liquor such as vodka, gin and whiskey.

“Over time, this new, more open market will introduce up to 8,500 new stores where consumers can buy these products, the largest expansion of consumer choice and convenience since the end of prohibition almost 100 years ago,” the government said.

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Law enforcement a key concern in alcohol distribution at Ontario corner stores: MADD

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