It was mentioned yesterday that the Beer Store in Ontario is supposed to be losing money. Well tough cookie! If you follow the bouncing ball of this story, you might be as curious as I, as to how this company can lose money by selling its product: Beer?
All we are told is that the Beer Store, the retail outlet for the brewers in Ontario—you can think of them as the three foreign-owned giants and the 30 or so Ontario craft breweries—are losing money. They claim their Beer Store sales have dropped by 20 per cent.
I think this is one of those situations where we need to follow the money. For example, when I buy a bottle of scotch at the liquor control board, I pay 20 cents deposit on the bottle. If I return that bottle to the Beer Story, they will give me back the 20 cents. The questions remain: Who keeps the money for bottles that do not get returned? Who gets the cash for bottles that can be recycled? You see where this is going do you? We are not getting the full story.
The one conclusion we can make is that the Beer Store is not losing money on the recycling business. It is getting money. It is how it accounts for that money that makes us wonder.
Our next question is about selling beer. Do the breweries sell directly to the liquor control board, grocery stores and restaurants or is it all or partly channeled through Brewers Warehousing Company Ltd. (the legal name of the Beer Store)?
And if there really was a dip in sales through the Beer Store, why have not the excessive price increases in the past year not mitigated that lower sales figure?
It also seems to me that the triumvirate of foreign-owned breweries who really own and run the Beer Store can set both their prices and the prices for the smaller packages at the LCBO and grocery stores. In any other jurisdiction than Ontario, these people would be in court for screwing beer drinkers.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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