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How are liquors sold in Canada? #5319834 01/11/20 03:37 PM
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53' Stude Online Content OP
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Question for my fellow Canadian friends: where can you buy spirits and liquor in Canada? I imagine at local liquor stores like in the U.S.A. but not sure. Can you buy beer and wine at grocery stores?


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Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: 53' Stude] #5319841 01/11/20 03:43 PM
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I will follow this post.


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Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: 53' Stude] #5319850 01/11/20 03:50 PM
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https://toronto.citynews.ca/2015/04/16/how-alcohol-is-sold-in-provinces-across-canada/

I'm sure OVERKILL can validate if anything's changed since then.


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Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: 53' Stude] #5319860 01/11/20 04:01 PM
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You get what you pay for...
So keep in mind how much you paid for this advice.
Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: 53' Stude] #5319878 01/11/20 04:16 PM
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It varies by province (similar to how it varies by state south of the border).

Recent changes have allowed for wine and beer to be sold at grocery stores in Ontario, so you can go into Sobeys and, as long as you are within the hours permitted, procure either there.

Otherwise, the more traditional venues have been:
1. The LCBO (here in Ontario), A Crown Corporation, run by the province, who have an extremely broad selection of everything.
2. "The Beer Store", which is a private entity that sells, as the name suggests, primarily beer, though they also carry coolers IIRC.

Typically, I've found quantities and pricing, and most definitely selection, to be better at the LCBO. We also have quite a few of them. Grocery store is convenient if you are already there. You aren't getting a better deal than at the LCBO though. Other provinces like New Brunswick for example, has NB Liquor, which is their equivalent of our LCBO, but doesn't have quite the same level of selection.


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Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: 53' Stude] #5319909 01/11/20 04:42 PM
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This should be pretty up to date but if there are errors, just chime in. Things change.

In most parts of Canada you buy beer, wine and liquor at a liquor store. The sale of liquor is regulated by each province. Some provinces have only government owned liquor stores, some have both private and government owned stores.

You can't buy beer or wine at a grocery store in most places in Canada, though you can in Quebec, and in some places in BC.

In theory you are not allowed to transport beer, wine or liquor between provinces. I say "in theory" because it's quite common for people to transport a case (12 bottles) or two of beer or a case of wine between provinces. You just pack it along with the rest of your stuff in the trunk. In theory you could be charged but you won't be unless you're being really ignorant about it. "Sorry officer, I didn't realize" would be expected to get you off with "firm advice about the future". A cube van full of beer, wine or liquor would get you in big trouble.

In most provinces you should not have liquor within reach of a driver. Consuming or having open liquor in a vehicle will not be tolerated by the police. The maximum legal limit for driving or boating everywhere in Canada is .08. Some provinces also have a .05 lower limit, with a 24 hour driving suspension as the minimum outcome if found driving between .05 and .08. Nowadays, people going out for a meal or for the evening either don't drink at all or severely limit how much they drink.


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Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: 53' Stude] #5319977 01/11/20 05:27 PM
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For Quebec, spirits and wine and some beer are sold at govt run stores called the SAQ. (Societe des Alcools e Quebec). Similar to Ontario's LCBO.

Beer and wine are available pretty much everywhere but wine from grocery stores arent necessarily the same you can get at the SAQ. If you want a quality wine, you would go to the SAQ to get it.


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Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: ecotourist] #5319982 01/11/20 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ecotourist
Some provinces also have a .05 lower limit, with a 24 hour driving suspension as the minimum outcome if found driving between .05 and .08. Nowadays, people going out for a meal or for the evening either don't drink at all or severely limit how much they drink.
Cash grab, straight up. You can bet insurance companies lobbied for that one in particular, .08 is the standard everywhere.


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Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: 53' Stude] #5320007 01/11/20 06:02 PM
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All the provinces have government-owned and operated liquor warehousing with a statutory monopoly. Its an archaic system that more properly belongs 100 years in the past, but the governments control the distribution channels. Actual community liquor retailers, depending on province, are either publicly, privately, or a mixture of public and privately owned.

Generally speaking, even if a Costco, Wal-Mart, etc. (retailers with very efficient warehouse/supply chains), gets a liquor sales license and can sell liquor on-premises, they have to purchase their liquor (even their own proprietary brands, like Kirkland Signature) wholesale through the government, which, in turn, purchases it from the actual producers. In addition to ordinary statutory liquor taxes, they generally run their distribution warehouses (which by law, don't have competition) incredibly inefficiently and poorly, so the 'mark-up' as they call it can be many dollars a bottle.

The end result is that a 66oz bottle of liquor that can be bought at a liquor retailer in the US for $13-$14 (including nominal state and federal taxes), typically is $40-$45, sometimes even more in Canada.

And lord help you if you want to purchase a product that isn't warehoused through the public liquor warehouses.


Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: 53' Stude] #5320016 01/11/20 06:10 PM
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Simple rules from an old Customs Inspector. Any Canuck heading to the US better be bring a bottle and carton with him. Ancient law ! If you forget you better go back or your guest is going to make you. Duty Free is a religious dutiful stop over while heading south for ANY reason whatsoever. I doubt there’s any booze left in Canada actually. They brought it all down here with them to their camps and sailboats.
Rule #2 if you’re an American NEVER go glass for glass with an old French Canadian, you will lose. Where it all goes in them is yet to be discovered.

Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: maxdustington] #5320026 01/11/20 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by maxdustington
Originally Posted by ecotourist
Some provinces also have a .05 lower limit, with a 24 hour driving suspension as the minimum outcome if found driving between .05 and .08. Nowadays, people going out for a meal or for the evening either don't drink at all or severely limit how much they drink.
Cash grab, straight up. You can bet insurance companies lobbied for that one in particular, .08 is the standard everywhere.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drunk_driving_law_by_country

No, it's not. Many countries worldwide are .05 or lower.


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Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: 53' Stude] #5320039 01/11/20 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 53' Stude


Question for my fellow Canadian friends: where can you buy spirits and liquor in Canada?




EVERYWHERE.

Seriously, within a 10 minute drive from my house there are about 20, yes, TWENTY liquor stores. These include Costco, grocery store chain stores and independents. Grocery store liquor stores MUST be separate from the regular grocery store.

We used to have government owned and operated liquor stores, but they were privatized many years ago.

Now we have legal marijuana stores too ...


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Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: 53' Stude] #5320044 01/11/20 06:34 PM
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Most strip malls have a liquor store equipped with a cold room for beer. My favourite store is Liquor Box, located across from McMahon stadium where the CFL Calgary Stampeders play.

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 01/11/20 06:36 PM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: geeman789] #5320046 01/11/20 06:34 PM
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pitzel Offline
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Originally Posted by geeman789
[quote=53' Stude]

EVERYWHERE.

Seriously, within a 10 minute drive from my house there are about 20, yes, TWENTY liquor stores. These include Costco, grocery store chain stores and independents. Grocery store liquor stores MUST be separate from the regular grocery store.

We used to have government owned and operated liquor stores, but they were privatized many years ago.

Now we have legal marijuana stores too ...


But they all have to sell from the same catalogue of products. That's why there's no 'store brands' of alcohol or (legal) marihuana in Canada. And producers can't really together with liquor retailers and do cross-promotions (ie: "get your Brand X liquor from chain store Y") with those archaic (and quite frankly, abusive) government wholesaling monopolies in place.

Re: How are liquors sold in Canada? [Re: 53' Stude] #5320049 01/11/20 06:38 PM
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Also, local craft beers are showing up in the stores. PS, don’t look for beer at the gas station and don’t ask for a sack. No one knows what that is. laugh

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 01/11/20 06:42 PM.

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