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Monday, October 11, 2010

GOSH: LCBO-SAQ Liaison to Wholesale Alcohol.

News Item: The SAQ is venturing outside its borders as a wholesaler (Globe and Mail, Oct 5, 2010).



TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – Tomorrow the LCBO, A Crown Corporation of A Have-Not Province, will be announcing that it is joining its colleague Societe des Alcools du Quebec in venturing outside its own borders as a wholesaler, carrying hefty pricing power given that it is already a major buyer.


An emergency sitting of the penurious Ontario Have-Not Legislature will be called to pass yet another law (readers may remember last week's Transparency Act) in an attempt to generate more revenues for its treasury. The new law will allow the LCBO to compete as a wholesaler on global markets and as a supplier of Ontario alcoholic beverages.


Top investigative wine reporter Brett Grimsby has been following this story for days now, and he files his report based on several interviews with Miffed Mole, the collective name for our sources who are familiar with the situation, and who spoke to him on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge details while they were very close to the centre of discussions and while the matter under consideration had not yet been finalized nor announced to the public. While the decisions may or may not have been finalized internally, and while an announcement on the matter may or may not be imminent, possibly within the next week or two, that specific timeline is not really known.


Said an LCBO source, "We're doing this as a 50-50 partnership with our labour union. OPSEU will be doing the initial funding, and we will be doing the initial wholesaling and retailing. We look forward to years of labour peace and quiet at the LCBO, now that we have involved the union as an equal stakeholder."


By wholesaling, the LCBO hopes to eliminate the agency system and become a liquor giant like Tesco in the UK or Costco in the US. In essence, it will be buying alcohol for its own retailing. New names for the wholesaler, operating under license to the LCBO, have been suggested to match Tesco, such as Libco.


But some wags have suggested that Libco means "Liberal company". The LCBO strongly denies this, and said it just means "Liquor Board Company."


As for the Ontario wine business, the LCBO will be the chief supplier of the stretch water component that goes into the CellaredinCanada™ product. Said a spokesperson, "We know where all the taps are, we've got RFID on all of them, and Ontario wineries must only use OUR taps which are metered."


The LCBO in the water business? Anything is possible in the beverage alcohol world.


More on this story as it taps out…


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