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Innisfil error uncorked in Ontario's new map of open alcohol retailers

One of four retail locations listed in town has been closed for repairs for weeks and it has a yet-to-be-determined reopening date

Before heading out with Ontario’s new guide to open alcohol retailers in hand, first make sure it won't leave you high and dry.

The Ontario government this week launched a new searchable and interactive map of retailers that it says remain open and ready to serve during ongoing strike action by OPSEU/SEFPO workers. A problem, however, is that one of the four locations listed in Innisfil — the popular Beer Store location at 945 Innisfil Beach Rd. — is currently shuttered and has been for weeks.

“Store is temporarily closed for repairs. Opening is TBD (to be determined),” said Beer Store spokesperson Jim Warren in an email July 9. “We are trying to open it as soon as possible.” 

There are currently 628 wineries and winery retail stores, 82 distillery retailers, 373 breweries, 448 grocers, 389 LCBO Convenience Outlets and 437 Beer Store locations displayed on the provincewide map.

The government is touting it as a way to still promote the “thousands of places people can buy their favourite beer, cider, wine or even spirits.”

“This new map is a great way to connect people across the province to local Ontario-made products and support the hundreds of Ontario businesses and thousands of Ontario workers who make these products and serve customers each and every day,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. “It also supports our plan to offer consumers the kind of choice and convenience available to other Canadians when purchasing alcoholic beverages, starting later this summer. I hope people across the province will take this chance to shop local and responsibly enjoy some great Ontario-made products.”

The map will be updated regularly as alcohol sales are expanded to more licensed grocery and convenience stores. As LCBO retail stores reopen, these will also be added, the province says.

As announced in May, Ontario is expanding the province’s alcohol beverage marketplace in phases to allow convenience, grocery and big-box grocery stores to sell beer, cider, wine and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages, such as coolers, hard seltzers or other premixed cocktails.

Starting in August, grocery retailers that currently sell wine or beer will be permitted to offer new products like coolers and other ready-to-drink beverages alongside more pack sizes of beer. New retailers will soon after be able to sell an increased selection of local, domestic and international booze.

By the end of October, every eligible convenience, grocery and big-box store in Ontario will be able to sell beer, cider, wine and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages if they choose to do so.

Over time, the government says, alcohol sales will be allowed in up to 8,500 new stores. This represents the largest expansion of consumer choice and convenience since the end of prohibition almost a century ago.

However, the union has countered the LCBO should instead be grown to meet demand, through new stores, added hours of operation and increased warehousing, logistics and e-commerce capacity. Doing this would also secure well-paying jobs and expand public revenues by increasing LCBO sales, which help fund public services like health care and education, as well as infrastructure.

“We know that the LCBO is Ontario’s best-kept secret — and we’re fighting to protect it,” said Colleen MacLeod, chair of OPSEU/SEFPO’s Liquor Board Employees Division and the bargaining team, in a recent news release. “We’ve been very clear that we won’t back down in our fight for a strong future for the LCBO and the public services funded by LCBO revenues.”

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Chris Simon

About the Author: Chris Simon

Chris Simon is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications throughout Simcoe County and York Region. He is the current Editor of BradfordToday and InnisfilToday and has about two decades of experience in the sector
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