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Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:54 PM

Liberate the suds!

Too bad, that only a Conservative is proposing this: and for all the wrong reasons.
Cohn: Never mind the LCBO — The Beer Store is an embarrassment - Part 1

"the Beer Store is ultimately owned by three foreign multinationals: Anheuser-Busch InBev, Molson Coors and Sapporo. In what other country does an elected government act as an enabler for a foreign-owned cartel — based in Belgium, Brazil, the U.S. and Japan — that wields monopoly power on beer sales in such a lucrative, captive market? Who voted for this"

"Time has passed The Beer Store by, but we’re still stuck with a model conceived in 1927: Post-Prohibition, wine and spirits went to the LCBO while lower-alcohol beer was entrusted to a distribution co-operative formed by every brewery in Ontario. Over time, Brewers’ Retail snapped up all retail operations, and industry consolidation reduced its ownership to a handful of dominant breweries."

"Unlike a risky privatization of the LCBO, pulling the plug on The Beer Store wouldn’t cost the treasury a penny. It’s not even an ideological question pitting government ownership versus privatization."

"Leave the LCBO alone for now — Ontarians already own it, and it helps pay the bills. The Beer Store, however, is an embarrassment. It’s an outdated operation crying out for an update — an indefensible, secretive monopoly that serves foreign interests. Not Ontarians’ interests."


Cohn: More reasons to end the Beer Store cartel - Part 2

"The Beer Store is not so much a miserable retail experience as it is a misplaced wholesale encounter. In no other retail emporium on the planet (outside of North Korea) is the customer encouraged to spend so little time on the premises exploring other products, while being milked for so much money. Hence its nickname, the “In and Out Store.”"

"...most readers grudgingly agreed that we should leave the LCBO alone — at least for now. A monopoly it may be, but the LCBO’s stores are well regarded and it funnels massive profits to our treasury."

"Yes, there is room for improvement, but there is far less resentment of the LCBO than you’d expect. The Tory plan to liberate our beer has massive support. But Hudak’s scheme to break up the LCBO looks financially self-defeating and lacks a consensus. Never mind the LCBO. The Beer Store is the real story."


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