NB Liquor may expand wine in grocery stores pilot project
Pilot project off to 'a roaring start,' says NB Liquor president Brian Harriman
More grocery stores in New Brunswick may soon start selling wine after a successful start to a pilot project in six communities, according the president of NB Liquor.
NB Liquor authorized in May six stores to carry wine that is not offered at normal liquor stores.
Brian Harriman, the president and chief executive officer of NB Liquor, said on Wednesday the experiment has got off to “a roaring start.”
“If it continues in this way, we may have to look at shortening our pilot and look at how to expand it faster,” Harriman said.
“It is early days, we’ve only been at it essentially six weeks, but certainly consumer feedback, retailer feedback and feedback from our suppliers has been fantastic in all three fronts.”
In June, the wine sales from the six special stores represented one per cent of total wine sales from across the province.
NB Liquor had originally expected the pilot project would last for 18 months before it was reviewed.
Harriman said the success will likely speed up that process, but the earliest that the Crown corporation would assess whether to expand the pilot project would be January. He said that would give the corporation six months worth of information to review.
He said there is no shortage of interest from other stores that are interested in participating in the future.
Harriman said “somebody every second or third day” contacts NB Liquor to express their willingness to have wine sold in their stores.
The pilot project sites are located in Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton, Douglastown, Tracadie-Sheila and Sussex.