Convenience stores slam Beer Store ad showing kids buying alcohol

The battle between the Beer Store and Ontario's convenience stores over selling alcohol rages on, with the Ontario Convenience Stores Association responding to last week's Beer Store commercial showing teens easily buying alcohol at a corner store.

Battle over whether to sell alcohol in Ontario corner stores heats up

Though other provinces including Quebec allow beer and wine sales in corner stores, Ontario has long resisted loosening its laws. (CBC)

The battle between the Beer Store and Ontario's convenience stores over selling alcohol rages on this week, with the Ontario Convenience Stores Association responding to last week's controversial commercial by the Beer Store.

The 30-second commercial, called Good Kids, shows teenagers easily buying alcohol from a corner store, and states that alcohol sales in convenience stores is "just not right for our kids." 

Ontario Convenience Stores Association CEO David Bryans says he was "disappointed" by the ad.

"Convenience stores have demonstrated their ability to responsibly sell age-restricted products with the highest standards in the province of Ontario," said Bryans.

Cigarettes and lottery tickets — which are off-limits to those under 19 and 18 years old, respectively — have long been sold in corner stores, he said in a news conference in Toronto.

The campaign by the Beer Store sparked an uproar online and in the media, with critics accusing it of fearmongering. Some community groups have nonetheless rallied behind its message.

"The reality is, you're going to have too many opportunities for purchasing and too little control over the sale," said Anne Leonard, executive director of Arrive Alive Drive Sober.

Beer Store responds

The Beer Store, meanwhile, questioned corner stores' record when it comes to turning away teens who try to buy cigarettes. 

It pointed to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's 2013 study on student drug use, which found 15.6 per cent of Ontario students between Grades 7 and 12 who smoke had bought cigarettes from convenience stores, gas stations or grocery stores.

The idea of selling wine and beer in corner stores has been around for decades, but Ontario has so far refused to allow it, though other provinces such as Quebec have.

Ontarians "are not happy with the antiquated alcohol retailing system we have here," Bryans said. 

Many pointed out that the LCBO already operates out of some convenience stores in Ontario.

The province also vowed to expand the availability of beer and wine, and earlier this month, said it would move ahead with plans to set up liquor store outlets in select grocery stores by the end of the year.

With files from Canadian Press


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