The Government Store, Canada

When I was a kid old O.H. Armstrong in our church called it the “Government Store”. In the South Shore of Nova Scotia apparently it is called the “Power House”. What ever you call them, there is a little left over from prohibition in every province in the country – the need to control…which also leads to the inability to shop around much. We are lucky here in eastern Ontario with the shops of Quebec and New York state not that far away, so that an hour and a half or two gets you into another world with another set of wacky regulations. If you are looking for something different when you travel, you can plan ahead with the web…but just don’t get too depressed from what you read:

What do you learn from looking at these sites? Don’t go beer hunting in PEI right off the top: no selection, six imports three of which are Heineken, Becks and Stella – mmm, macro-industrial North Sea lager. Quebec has very interesting beers, allows you to find out if a bottle is actually in your shop and shop on-line but if you are in a northern village you have to let the local authorities know what you have ordered. Newfoundland calls beer from New Brunswick imported. Alberta has privatized the shops in 1993 and has since only regulated but still they are left, according to the Bar Towel in 2002, with limited selection.

So – what do you do with a country that cannot organize itself better than a cornerstore in a suburb of a small US city or a pub in Halifax

One thought on “The Government Store, Canada”

  1. [Original comments…]

    Derek – November 9, 2004 6:40 AM
    On PEI, we called it the “government dairy”, the “Lick” or “the warm beer store”. Times have changed. They now sell cold beer, wine and coolers. and the main store sells bottle-your-own tanker wine that is quite palatable. If you are looking for a decent beer, though, you have to go elsewhere. The Gahan House brewery, behind the Queen St. “Lick” sells a decent variety of brewed-on-site beer. I recommend the Sydney Street Stout.

    Mike – November 9, 2004 8:30 AM
    As per the Sloan song, we always called it “the L.C.” in Halifax (as in ‘Nova Scotia Liquor Commission’; although now I see it’s corporation, maybe it was ‘corporation’ back then as well).

    Alan – November 9, 2004 8:48 AM
    You are spot on with that Sydney Street Stout, Derek – that was my favorite. And PEI makes up for itself with the excellent moonshine which appears magically in every kitchen cabinet out near my old home in Rustico.

    Knut Albert Solem – September 5, 2005 4:11 AM
    Waht is kookoo juice, Alan?

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