Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa unveiled plans this afternoon for 10 LCBO liquor kiosks to open in grocery stores as part of a one-year pilot program.
The plan would allow for the rollout of selected LCBO Express stores-within-a-store, which would open by the end of the year. The special kiosks would be available to grocery stores that can set aside at least 2,000 square feet of retail space for the LCBO.
"Ontario consumers have long asked for more convenient options, and we're listening," Sousa said at a LCBO in Toronto, calling the move a step in the right direction that will be socially responsible while also promoting local craft beers and Ontario wines.
'We've got to toast to the success of the LCBO's expansion.' - Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa
Sousa concluded the formal statement with a clink of glasses, sipping from an award-winning Old Credit brew from Port Credit, Ont.
He said the rollout will begin with a pilot of 10 stores. Purchases of wine, beer and spirits will be paid for at the kiosk, to the LCBO.
"We've got to toast to the success of the LCBO's expansion," he said, joining LCBO President and CEO Bob Peters with a cheers. "Here's to Express stores, here's to you guys, thank you."
Sousa told reporters that LCBO Express stores-within-stores will operate on the same hours as regular LCBO locations.
The LCBO issued a Request for Proposals today for up to seven Express stores and will be accepting proposals until May 9, 2014.
The government said the LCBO will work in partnership with public health agencies to educate the public about responsible alcohol consumption.
The estimated value of the province's alcohol market in 2012-13 was $10 billion, according to the ministry of finance.