Ontario's about-face on beer growlers leaves bars and restaurants out in the cold

TORONTO, Sept. 17, 2015 /CNW/ - Restaurants Canada is surprised to learn the LCBO will be selling growlers of beer, as the Ontario government rejected the idea just a few months ago.

"Restaurants Canada asked the government to follow the lead of other provinces and allow restaurants to sell growlers for customers to take home," said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada's Ontario vice president. "The government said no, and then turned around and took the idea for themselves."

As part of the submission to the Ed Clark Panel, Restaurants Canada proposed that growlers be allowed as an "off-sale" in restaurants to promote craft beer and allow Ontarians to experience different tastes that may not be available in packaged formats. This gained a lot of support until the government put the brakes on.

"I guess the government is saying that it is only a good idea if they are selling the product," said Rilett.  "Now they have chosen to directly compete with restaurants and bars for the draft beer market."

Currently, restaurant and bar owners must pay full retail price or higher for beer and spirits, along with a wide array of corporate and employment taxes to the government. Restaurants Canada has been calling for changes to the system for years, with no response from the government.

An overview of Restaurants Canada's earlier call to allow bars and licensed restaurants to sell beer to customers to enjoy at home is posted here.

Restaurants Canada is a growing community of 30,000 foodservice businesses, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and suppliers. We connect our members from coast to coast, through services, research and advocacy for a strong and vibrant restaurant industry. Canada's restaurant industry directly employs 1.2 million Canadians, is the number one source of first jobs, and serves 18 million customers every day.

SOURCE Restaurants Canada

For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS: James Rilett, Vice President, Ontario, (416) 649-4241 or jrilett@restaurantscanada.org; Beth Pollock, Communications Specialist at 416-649-4254, or media@restaurantscanada.org.

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