Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An Ontario Tradition - The Beer Store

Ontario, unlike more libertarian leaning polities, keeps its alcohol sales under tight government regulation and control.

This does not stop minors from getting beer mind you, but it keeps the tax money rolling in.

To purchase beer, you need go to the imaginatively named Beer Store.

Then after entering you look at the displays on the walls and pick the beer you want and tell the clerk how much you want of it, you pay for it, and then they'll get it from the back for you, with it coming out after being pushed on a track covered in rollers to make it zip on out.

Here's two of the wall displays:

As you can see, it's certainly not cheap ($35.95 for a two-four of Labatt's Blue is highway flippin' robbery) and the selection, while much improved from the days of my youth (I remember taking trips to the Martimes with a highlight of the trip being the "smuggling" back of Moosehead beer that was unavailable in Ontario), is still rather small compared to say a Meijer's or Hiller's grocery store.

For wine, liquor and other beers, you have to go to a geographically separate government store, the LCBO, where you can actually pick the bottles you want and take them to the cashier to pay.

On the upside, there were some fine Canadian beers available at the Beer Store that you don't see much anywhere else.

We bought some Granville Island English Bay Pale Ale, having never tried any before and found it quite tasty indeed. Not as hoppy as a full IPA but clean, crisp and perfect for a hot day with some freshly grilled steaks. I'd have it again without hesitation.

Having gotten used to both Michigan selection and relative ease of purchase of beer, not to mention the prices, going back to the Beer Store was a bit of a culture shock.


Keads said...

It freaked me out on my first trip up there too.

Scott said...

That description of the Beer Store so reminded me of "Strange Brew":