Ontarians show broad support for convenience stores selling beer and wine

Thousands continue signing petition to expand alcohol retailing at www.freeourbeer.ca

OAKVILLE, ON, Dec. 4, 2012 /CNW/ - A majority of Ontarians from communities all across the province and voters from every political party say it's time for Ontario to modernize its alcohol retailing system to include convenience stores.

"The alcohol retailing system in Ontario was designed in 1927 - 85 years ago - and hasn't really changed since then.  Ontarians, particularly in rural areas, are tired of the long drives and long lines, and lack of convenience," said Dave Bryans, CEO, Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA).  "Ontarians are very clear: They say it's time we moved the discussion forward on modernizing alcohol retailing in Ontario to include convenience stores.  This can be done responsibly, and Ontario's chain convenience stores have shown they have the track record to prove it."

Bryans added: "The people who support broader alcohol retailing are New Democrats, Liberals and Progressive Conservatives. They're parents, neighbours and responsible adults who want the same simple convenience that their friends and relatives outside Ontario enjoy.  Convenience stores are already offering alcohol responsibly in over 200 Ontario communities and it's time to add onto the existing retailing system to provide more choice and convenience for consumers."

Since 2011, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association has led an effort that demonstrated:

  • Ontarians support convenience store beer and wine retailing - In July, OCSA unveiled a 112,500 name petition, the largest ever presented at Queen's Park, from voters in 220 communities asking for the modest convenience of picking up beer or wine for dinner at their local convenience store.
  • Convenience stores are better at age checks than the Beer Store or the LCBO - An independent, third-party mystery shopping study that showed convenience stores were the best at age checks - better at denying sales of age-restricted products to minors than the foreign-owned Beer Store and the government-run LCBO.  When tested with underage secret shoppers (age 15-18), convenience stores scored the highest with an 87.3% pass rate, The Beer Store next with 80.7% and LCBO last with 74.6% - meaning 1 in 4 minors successfully purchased age-restricted products from LCBO, and 1 in 5 from The Beer Store - compared to 1 in 8 for convenience stores.
  • Two-thirds of Ontarians support beer and wine retailing at convenience stores - A 2011 Ipsos Reid study that revealed that two-thirds of Ontarians who shop at the foreign-owned Beer Store and government-run LCBO want the convenience of alcohol retailing at convenience stores.

About OCSA

Ontario Convenience Store Association members are responsible community retailers. Convenience stores sell more age restricted products than any other retailer, and do a better job of checking for age than any other retailer.

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) represents convenience stores throughout the province that are committed to Responsible Community Retailing.  The OCSA membership comprises nearly 7,500 of the 11,000 convenience stores in Ontario.  The convenience store industry represents $13 billion in sales annually in Ontario and employs over 69,000 people.  More than 3 million people visit convenience stores in communities across Ontario every day.

SOURCE: Ontario Convenience Stores Association

For further information:

Media inquiries:

John Perenack
jperenack@strategycorp.com (quick response)

Bryn Turnbull
bturnbull@strategycorp.com (quick response)
416.864.7112 x2243

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