An ongoing summary of the still-happening Beer Store news


If you’ve been sleeping all day and haven’t heard, there’s been some beer news.

On January 7, 2015, The Beer Store announced that they would be “opening up ownership opportunities” to all Ontario breweries.

You can read the full scoop over on blogTO where I broke it all down the morning it happened.

Since the news broke, there’s been a veritable shit storm of activity as people reacted and responded to the news. At first, the news seemed like a PR masterstroke. The Beer Store changed the conversation that had largely been about their unfair monopoly up until now and instead issued what would surely be seen as a great step forward for Ontario beer. Right?

Well, not so much.

Reaction has been pretty swift and not all that supportive. People aren’t taking too kindly to the Beer Store, arguably the source of the problem, opting to be the solution to the problem and the move has come off as, at best, a token gesture and, at worst, insulting.

Here’s a round-up of the fallout:

TV and Radio


Jason Fisher of the Indie Alehouse really got the fun started this morning by responding on AM1010 with Jerry Agar (skip to 39:38) and then The Beer Store’s Jeff Newton joined Jerry and got pretty roundly flustered. Lovely stuff.

 Print Media Coverage


Photo by Robin LeBlanc

The Blogs

Man Using Laptop in Bar

In the interest of keeping the conversation going and maintaining a resource for everyone to share in the fun, please share your links or news schedule tips as comments here.

15 thoughts on “An ongoing summary of the still-happening Beer Store news

  1. Hey thanks for the shout out Ben! I’d hardly say Jeff was flustered, Jerry is about as irate as Bill O’Reilly on a good day.
    It’s no secret that there is a sweet spot in Newstalk 1010’s cold little heart for Indie Ale House, and they will relentlessly attack anyone from TBS in order to protect it (I’d be surprised if they weren’t blood brothers for God’s sake). Christ, he even insinuated that you have to drink “special kool-aid” to work here. Sounds like a level headed guy….

  2. Just watched Doug Pengely from Junction Craft call the announcement “lipstick on a pig” on CP24.
    Spat my coffee out on that one!

    I liken this step by TBS to be the worst PR bungle since Ghomeshi!

  3. I think this was a pretty good attempt by TBS, even if it does fail. Here’s the strategy:

    – Bring some (many?) of the small brewers into TBS.
    – Give them some cheaper listings, “ownership” and nominal seats on the board where they can’t cause any harm
    – Now they feel like they’re part of the system.
    – They’ll be on the inside pissing out instead of on the outside pissing in.
    – The “craft brewer” lobby is now neutralized

    The remainder of the anti-monopoly lobby is, with the exception of OCSA, diffuse. From a political point of view, diffuse opposition is meaningless. It doesn’t raise money, and doesn’t move votes. Mission accomplished.

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