Ontario’s Beer Store: bad for small business

In Culture on July 26, 2011 at 11:03 am

Ontario’s liquor laws support big business at the expense of small craft brewers. That’s the claim made by the Ontario Craft Brewers trade association, highlighted in Josh Rubin’s recent Toronto Star article. The liquor laws in most of Canada’s provinces are generally outdated, and are kept so for the simple reason that they’re a cash cow for government. Many rationalizations are then seeded into the public discourse about why they’re needed, reasons that are essentially unchanged since Prohibition: people don’t know what’s good for them, and they need help from government to figure out what’s best.

We may not live in the age of bootleggers any more, but for many decades, Canada has grown perfectly comfortable with business monopolies. The Beer Store is a perfect example of what looks like a controlled, regulated environment which is really nothing more than a front for large business concerns. As this Star video from 2008 shows, the organization maintains the public illusion (and maybe expectation) of government oversight while really funneling profits towards an exclusively corporate end-point.

It’s high time Ontario level the playing field, and admit that liquor distribution is a fixed game.


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