I guess it’s technically part of an oligopoly (?duopoly?), but along with the
KGBO LCBO, the other entity that is legally allowed to sell beer is the mostly foreign-owned Beer Store:
… the experience highlights one of the many absurdities of a system where more than 80 per cent of beer sales are controlled by three multinationals — Labatt Brewing Co. Ltd. (owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA), Molson Coors Brewing Co. and Sleeman Breweries Ltd. (owned by Japan’s Sapporo Breweries Ltd.).
“The way the system is set up unfairly limits access to customers,” Mr. Beauchesne complained. “Molson, Labatt and Sleeman are completely in control of how beer stores look and feel, what products are promoted. They get to control the whole shopping experience and I get none of that control.”
The McGuinty government is pledging to review outdated liquor laws early in the legislative session that begins this week. MPP Grant Crack, parliamentary assistant to the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister, said the Beer Store’s monopoly will no doubt come up.
[. . .]
After 85 years, the Beer Store is an anachronism.
It’s often hard to reconcile the ad world of beer — the snow-capped mountains, parties and hockey — with the utilitarian factory-like outlets where most Ontarians actually buy the stuff.
There are noisy conveyor belts, bottle crushers and cases of beer stacked on metal shelves in dank warehouses. In many stores, patrons still make their selection by picking from a row of dusty empties on a shelf.
Behind the counter, harried clerks juggle bottle returns and running the cash register.
Forget about tastings, attention-grabbing displays of new offerings or expert advice to help you choose from hundreds of selections. At the 437 Beer Stores, it’s get in line, pay the clerk, get out.