Dry Eyes in the House: Toronto Won’t Have Beer and Wine in Grocery Stores Until At Least 2016

Had nobody said anything about it, we’d probably all be fine.

We’d reluctantly drag our passive aggressive heels to the nearest moldy Beer Store, or the closest bright-eyed and bushy-tailed LCBO, and we’d crank through the routine; “Yes, I found everything ok; yes, I have Air Miles; wait, what charity am I giving two dollars to? No, I don’t need a bag; My postal code? What are you, a cop? Great, thank you; And yes, I wish the law permitted me to combine cheese and ice cream with this purchase.”

But now that we’re supposed to have it, it’s even more annoying that we don’t. It’s like airports that don’t have Wi-Fi and hipster coffee shops that only take cash or vinyl; just suck it up and flip the switch.

Wait for it…

It’s not that simple.

Ahhhhhh, yes. The old, “It’s not that simple” routine. The impenetrable defense of lumbering legislative layers.

As we learned a few months ago, best-case scenario for beer making its appearance in grocery stores was “by Christmas”, with wine dates up in the air but possible for a mid-to-late 2016 debut.

But just recently, Tom Barlow, President and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, told the media that “early 2016” is the best possible case for the broader availability of beer, with at least another year and a half needed to stock the shelves of all the eventual retailers across the province. While many retailers will be quick out of the gates, it sounds like a number of them – perhaps the one closest to you – will be struggling to get in the race.

Considering the additional sensitivities surrounding Wine Rack and Wine Shop kiosk licenses, as well as the bunches of international wine producers currently supplying our province with vino through the LCBO, who knows what that means for a timeline on wine.

Late 2016? Early 2017??

We’ll just have to wait patiently and hope that when they’re finally ready to pour the beer, we don’t have to lip through a stack of foam to get to the good stuff.

In the meantime, I need a drink.