Ontario Supports Ontario’s Beverage Alcohol Sector During COVID-19
Buy Local to Celebrate Ontario Craft Beer Week and Ontario Wine Week
TORONTO — The Ontario government is encouraging consumers to mark Ontario Craft Beer Week and Ontario Wine Week by supporting local beverage alcohol producers as the province takes additional steps to help the sector recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
The government is increasing choice and convenience for consumers by working to expand made-in-Ontario options at the LCBO. This includes increased marketing, converting available shelf space to profile Ontario products, and making more products available for sale, including bag-in-box wine and those made in the province. The supports are effective June 21 until October 2020.
“Buying local not only supports Ontario’s wineries, breweries, cideries, distilleries and other local producers, but it also means getting a quality product to enjoy responsibly,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. “Our alcohol sector told us they are being negatively impacted by the measures that have been necessary to contain COVID-19. That’s why our government is taking steps to help these local businesses continue providing good jobs for people in Ontario and producing the products consumers enjoy.”
This initiative is part of a number of ways the government is supporting Ontario’s beverage alcohol sector, including:
- Pausing increases to beer and wine taxes, previously scheduled to take effect in spring 2020;
- Temporarily allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.;
- Temporarily allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell spirits at a lower price with food takeout and delivery orders;
- Allowing restaurants and bars to temporarily create or extend outdoor patio spaces to safely accommodate patrons and staff once licensed establishments are permitted to reopen for business;
- Making it easier for cideries to sell directly to consumers by temporarily removing the requirement for cideries to have five acres of planted fruit to qualify for an on-site store;
- Extending the Ontario Wine and Grape Strategy to 2021-22, providing $7.5 million annually for VQA Support, $4.8 million annually for marketing and promotion, $250,000 for research and $250,000 for benchmarking; and
- Extending the Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program to 2021-22, providing $2.6 million annually to help eligible businesses grow and scale up their operations.
“Our province is home to some of the best breweries and wineries in the world who produce top quality craft beers and world-class wines. Now more than ever, I encourage you to support Ontario’s many great craft producers by choosing and responsibly enjoying local,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
With most of the province in stage two of Ontario’s Framework to Reopen Our Province, many people can now enjoy Ontario-made beverage alcohol on patios of their local bars and restaurants.
“People and businesses in Ontario have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, including the beverage alcohol industry and workers,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “These Made-in-Ontario businesses play an essential role in the success of our local economies and the vibrancy of communities in our province. Our government will keep working to support this important sector through these challenges.”
- This year, Ontario Craft Beer Week and Ontario Wine Week runs from June 14-20.
- On Wednesday June 3, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, held a beverage alcohol sector industry roundtable to meet with stakeholders and listen to how COVID-19 is impacting their businesses. This meeting was part the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee’s ongoing consultations to ensure a strong economic recovery.
- The government is committed to upholding the highest standards for social responsibility, including the strong regulatory framework that is in place for alcohol sales, which includes a minimum age to purchase alcohol, mandatory staff training and minimum retail prices.