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Questions linger about new beer and wine regulations

Speculation brews about the Liberals' plans for beer and wine in supermarkets

Big news hit at the end of last week: the Liberal government may soon be loosening regulations to allow larger supermarkets in Ontario to sell beer and wine.

A new policy will reportedly be discussed as part of the upcoming spring budget, and would take power away from the Beer Store and its grip on the beer market in the province.

Independent grocers worry that the move will only benefit the largest grocery chains. As reported in Canadian Grocer last week, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers president and CEO, Tom Barlow, stated that his association supports the liberalization of sales, but that it would be a concern if smaller grocery stores didn't have an equal opportunity to sell beer and wine due to either prohibitive licensing fees or arbitrary size restrictions.

There are still many questions within the grocery industry about what the government's plan could look like and how it would be implemented in grocery stores. And article in The Toronto Star points out potential issues surrounding the sale of wine and beer, including what kind of training cashiers would get on selling these goods, what kind of quantity limitations there could be and how prices could be impacted.

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