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Beer will be a hit in Ontario supermarkets, survey finds

But wine consumers will still mostly buy at government stores

Grocers in Ontario gearing up to sell alcohol should make plenty of room on shelves for the ale and lager; not so much for the vino.

That’s according to a new survey that finds many Ontarians will switch from The Beer Store to the supermarket for their suds. But most will still head to Liquor Control Board of Ontario stores for wine.

Thirty-one per cent of Ontario adults who buy beer to drink at home plan to buy their lager and ale at the grocery store, according to the survey by Forum Research.

Twenty per cent will stick with The Beer Store and 18 per cent will buy beer at the LCBO. Another 29 per cent said they planned to divide where they buy beer among grocery stores, The Beer Store and LCBO.

As for wine, 41 per cent said they plan to continue buying plonk at the LCBO compared to 24 per cent at the supermarket. Another 10 per cent will buy at private wine stores, such as Wine Rack. Twenty-two per cent said they would divide their purchases.

One reason that beer may do better in supermarkets is that there are fewer “leading labels to sell,” in beer compared to wine, which is why “beer is seen to be a winner in the grocery store,” Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research noted.

Either way, Ontario residents seem happy with the Ontario government’s plan to let supermarkets sell booze. Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of Ontarians polled by Forum Research approve. Another 30 per cent disapprove and six per cent haven’t an opinion.

The results are based on a poll of 881 adults in the province.

Ontario’s plan, revealed in March, would end a nearly nine-decade booze monopoly in the province where, with few exceptions, alcohol is sold only in government-run LCBO outlets and The Beer Store, owned by a triumvirate of three brewers: Anheuser-Busch InBev, Molson Coors and Sapporo Breweries.

But it remains unclear how soon grocers in the province will be allowed to sell beer and wine and how many supermarkets will receive provincial licences to sell booze, or how such licences would be doled out.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has ruled out selling beer and wine in convenience stores.

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