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New Brunswick supermarket vinos up

Sussex Co-op doing big business in local wine after winning government OK

A co-op grocery store in Sussex, N.B. is the first in that province to carry wine as part of a provincial strategy allowing the sale of vino in some supermarkets.

The Sussex Co-op grocery store carries 64 varieties of wine, many of which are from local vintners and not sold at New Brunswick Liquor Corporation stores.

Sussex Co-op, which opened a brand new store last November, is the first of half a dozen or so grocery stores in the province that will sell wine as part of a pilot program.

According to reports, NB Liquor plans to allow several more Atlantic Co-op stores as well as a Sobeys and a Loblaw’s Superstore to stock wine.

The pilot will run 18 months after which time NB Liquor will decide whether to expand the program or cancel it.

So far, it’s catching on in Sussex. Rocky Price, general manager of the Co-op store, told the CBC that he’s already needed extra deliveries of local wines.

“We've been selling since last Thursday, and the local product has been our most popular … accounting for about 50 per cent of our business. So that's very promising, and very enticing,” he said.

New Brunswick is one of several provinces slowly loosening government’s grip on booze sales.

Manitoba has set up liquor kiosks in some grocery stores and Ontario is planning to do the same.

In both provinces, employees of the provincial liquor boards man the kiosks. In New Brunswick, grocery staff over the age of 19 handle booze sales directly.

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