Eastern Ontario craft brewery benefiting from grocery store sales

The co-founder of Beau's All Natural Brewing Company says Ontario's decision to include craft beer on Ontario's grocery store shelves has resulted in an increase in sales.

60 Ontario grocery stores can sell beer currently, with the potential to license up to 450

Participating Ontario grocery stores must currently reserve 20% of beer shelf space for the province's craft beers. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Steve Beauchesne calls Ontario's decision to include the sale of craft beer in grocery stores a "game changer."

He's a co-founder of Beau's All Natural Brewing Company, based in Vankleek Hill, Ont., about 100 km east of Ottawa. For his craft brewery, the movement into grocery stores helps with exposure.

"Access to customers has always been the biggest issue for a craft brewery," Beauchesne said. "By allowing the beer into grocery stores, it kind of gives us that opportunity to let customers see our beer and look at the package before they purchase."

Customers are also happy with the option to purchase beer in grocery stores, according to Doug Hatoum, store operator of Sobeys Urban Fresh on Metcalfe Street in downtown Ottawa. 

"The customers are very excited about the beer offering in our store. They've told me they appreciate the time it saves them from needing to go to other places," Hatoum said.

Convenient for shoppers

"They like the fact that they can get everything – from groceries to take home meals to beer – all in one convenient location."
Father-and-son team Steve and Tim Beauchesne founded Beau's All Natural Brewery. (Beau's All Natural Brewery)

Currently in the province, there are 60 grocery stores that are able to sell beer, with the potential for up to 450 licensed to sell beer.

Beauchesne likes the thought of 450 grocery stores carrying beer from the craft brewery he founded with his father, Tim.

"You can imagine that when the Ontario government rolls this out into a full-fledged system, this could have a real impact for us," he said. 

So far, being on the shelves in those 60 stores has resulted in an extra 3% in sales for Beau's, according to Beauchesne.