Ottawa microbrewery says liquor laws to force Hintonburg store closure
Beyond the Pale won't produce 2.5 million litres needed to operate 2 stores
The owners of Ottawa microbrewery Beyond the Pale say Ontario's restrictive liquor laws mean they'll be forced to close their Hintonburg store when they open another location at the site of a new production facility.
Beyond the Pale co-owner Rob McIsaac said the tiny brewery has outgrown its space on Hamilton Avenue and work is underway to move production to the nearby City Centre.
The plan is to open a new retail location at the City Centre brewery in early 2015.
McIsaac said they would like to keep the Hintonburg store running as well, but Ontario's liquor laws prevent that.
Law punishes small breweries, owner says
Under Ontario's current rules, breweries are not allowed a second on-site retail location unless they produce at least 2.5 million litres per year.
McIsaac said Beyond the Pale produces 216,000 litres per year but is aiming to ramp production to 1.5 million litres per year in new location, well short of the province's requirement.
"The law itself is outdated. It seems silly to me that the government would be protecting the interests of large multi-nationals at the expense of Ontario entrepreneurs," said McIsaac.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has been reviewing the province's liquor laws in an effort to modernize them.
The commission said it has heard a number of recommendations, including lowering the production requirement, eliminating it entirely, or allowing all manufacturers to open three such stores, regardless of size.
But there's no indication yet if it the laws will be updated anytime soon.
McIsaac said they hope customers understand should the store close.
"We'd love to keep this retail location going, the neighbourhood has been great to us, and we talked to a lot of people who are sad to see us go, even though we're not going too far," he said.