LCBO.com to sell booze online, deliver to homes or stores
Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, July 26, 2016 10:20AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 26, 2016 12:39PM EDT
TORONTO -- The Liquor Control Board of Ontario launched online sales Tuesday with a website that lets people buy from nearly 5,000 products and have them delivered to their home or a local liquor store.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the creation of LCBO.com shows the government-owned liquor agency's commitment to evolve and modernize, and will provide greater convenience for consumers.
"The virtual shelf space now available to small wineries and breweries is fantastic," said Sousa.
"Consumers who may not have their favourite product at their local store will now have 5,000 products available right at their fingertips, and they'll be able to find what they need with the click of a mouse."
There is a $50 minimum for any purchases through LCBO.com and purchases could be delivered to a neighbourhood LCBO store for free, or to a customer's home through Canada Post for a $12 fee plus tax. Postal workers will have to ask for identification or return the liquor to the postal depot for customer pickup.
The online sales site will be a huge boost to Ontario wineries, breweries and cider producers, predicted LCBO president and CEO George Soleas.
"If I was a small brewery or small winery and was only able to deliver to five or 10 LCBO stores, now we've opened the entire province to that small brewery or winery," he said. "So if you're participating with e-commerce, you can have your products delivered now to anywhere in the province of Ontario."
Wines from British Columbia and Quebec will also be available at LCBO.com thanks to an agreement reached last Friday by the premiers of the three provinces, added Sousa, who made some online purchases himself Tuesday morning.
"You can also identify product by region, so I actually used Niagara as one region and the Okanagan from B.C. as another region," he said. "And of course it's not just wines; it's beer, it's spirits and a host of other products that are available."
The LCBO.com site will also be good for suppliers of alcoholic beverages from around the world who are not well represented in LCBO stores because they don't meet the production quotas needed to be listed by the liquor agency.
"There are no more quotas for these products as long as they're willing to participate in e-commerce," said Soleas.
The LCBO said 800 of the products available online will be exclusive to LCBO.com and will not be available in any of its 655 retail outlets.
The online portal already lists more products than are carried in any LCBO store, added Soleas, who said the agency's flagship retail outlet in Toronto carries about 3,400 products while the large Summerhill store in Toronto carries about 4,000.
The agency said LCBO.com could eventually list up to 16,000 products for sale.
The LCBO reported record sales of $5.6 billion in 2015-16, up 6.8 per cent over the previous year, and paid a dividend of $1.9 billion to the government, an increase of $130 million.