Ontario’s LCBO Has Nation Based Beer Quota?

Interesting comment on Ontario’s LCBO, the province’s sole wholesale import beer buyer. The comment is from an Estonian supplier newly selling its beer into this my local marketplace:

In an April 11 statement, A. Le Coq said its product should arrive on store shelves in the province’s major cities this week. The brewery’s director Tarmo Noop said that entering the Canadian market was a long and difficult process. “In Canada the government puts very strict controls on alcohol sales and in connection with that, very tough regulations are in effect for both importers and imported goods,” he said. As an example, Noop said that only one brand of Estonian beer could be sold on the market at one time. The company also had to redesign its packaging to meet local regulations.

Really? Is this just for Estonia or do all nations have to send us only a few of their brews? How many German, French or Italian beers can be on the shelf at one time? Where is the chart of these national quota levels and who came up with it?

One thought on “Ontario’s LCBO Has Nation Based Beer Quota?”

  1. [Original comments…]

    Chris Barrett – April 11, 2012 9:04 PM
    I’ve never seen an explicit quota mentioned, but there are obviously cancon style rules (or Trafalgar wouldn’t exist) and some intentional diversification planning at work for the imports. Hopefully more rule of thumb than explicit planning, but you never know given how long things can sit in the pipeline with the LC.

    It’s funny that I saw that product on the shelf yesterday and was shocked that I had no information about this brewer (now that I know it’s Estonian I have a hint to why). I must have stared at it for 30 seconds in silence attempting to place it.

    Jordan St.John – April 11, 2012 10:16 PM
    I’m unaware of any quotas, but it would explain some things.

    I didn’t realize that there were enough Estonian breweries looking to expand internationally that this would become an issue.

    Alan – April 11, 2012 10:31 PM
    You have to keep a lid on those Estonians.

    I think Trafalgar relates to another rule.

    Chris Layton, LCBO Corporate Communications – May 4, 2012 2:24 PM
    For the record, folks, the LCBO does not set quotas by country. We purchase products that we feel appeal to this market, regardless of origin.

    Alan – May 4, 2012 3:47 PM
    Well, if that was true why does the call for international beer state: “Must be the top selling product from that country, in the package and format most easily recognized by the consumer”

    Surely that means the top one product per country.

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