Alcohol prices

Ontario To Cut Wholesale Alcohol Prices In Bars And Restaurants

The Ontario government will reduce wholesale prices for alcohol purchases from the LCBO effective January 1.

According to the government, LCBO’s wholesale purchases will save businesses 20% off retail prices. This change is expected to provide around $ 60 million in annual support to restaurants, bars and other businesses.

In addition, curbside pickup of beer, wine and cider from licensed grocery stores will be enabled, along with a freeze on the base rate of the beer tax.

Tax rates are additional tax amounts added to beer sold in Ontario that change annually based on the Consumer Price Index. The base beer tax rate was supposed to reflect inflation next March, but will now be frozen until March 2023.

“We are committed to helping these companies, and that is exactly what we are doing today,” Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance, said in a statement.

“Nice to hear good news from the province”

Mike Smith is a London restaurateur and owner of iconic Joe Kool’s. (Colin Butler / CBC News)

The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by lockdowns and restrictions since the start of the pandemic. For those working in the industry, the announcement is good news.

Mike Smith owns several restaurants in London, Ontario, such as Joe Kool’s and Toboggan Brewing Company. He says this step was necessary amid rising inflation costs and the fallout from COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s actually nice to have some good news from the province for once. Licensed establishments sometimes pay more for beer than consumers, and then you have to have a place where it’s sold, employ people and cover all of your costs, so that’s definitely welcome, ”he said.

Tony Elenis, President and CEO of the Ontario Restaurants, Hotel, Motel Association (ORHMA) is delighted to see the government adopt the approach suggested by his organization.

“The industry has been hurt and devastated, it’s not just about revenue but also spending, we’ve seen increases in all types of costs and we need a sustainable model to move forward so that this industry survives, ”he said. noted.

Elenis says he has received many positive responses from many companies who believe this price reduction is a powerful tool for achieving tangible results both in pandemic recovery and beyond.

“A long and painful road to recovery”

Tony Elenis, President and CEO of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association. He is delighted to see the government take action to support the industry. (Oliver Walters / CBC)

Elenis believes that in the current economic climate, the last thing that is needed is for prices to rise and the uncertainty of the pandemic is only adding to that stress.

“We don’t know when this will be over, we need all the help we can get, this industry has a long, painful road to recover,” he said.

The issue of wholesale beverage prices was a top priority for ORHMA even before the pandemic, which led it to help the government enact retail price cuts.

“How can an approved industry, which buys so much in volume, pay the same price as a consumer … everything that this industry buys gets a discount, except the prices of alcoholic beverages, that is, is unheard of, ”Elenis said.

“I don’t think it will help too much with inflation and rising food and labor costs, it’s not the answer to all the problems, but it certainly helps,” said Smith.

Elenis says ORHMA commends the government for stepping up and supporting the industry at a critical time like this. “The priority right now is to keep the restaurants open, it’s about survival.”