Windsor craft breweries ready for opportunities with PC ending Beer Store deal

While there is some concern over what breaking the contract means for Ontario, some craft breweries in Windsor are excited for what's to come.

'I hoped it was inevitable that this would happen at some point,' says Jordan Goure

Jordan Goure from Brew Microbrewery says they're ready to seize the opportunity to widen distribution. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Craft brewers in Windsor are reacting positively to Ontario's plans to end the deal with The Beer Store, citing more distribution opportunities to customers.

Now that the Progressive Conservatives have tabled legislation to terminate a contract with The Beer Store to allow corner stores to sell alcohol, a craft brewery is ready to seize the opportunity.

"I hoped it was inevitable that this would happen at some point, that everyone would have a choice of where they're buying their booze from, so, and especially beer in our industry," said Jordan Goure, brewer at Brew Microbrewery.

Like Brew, Chapter Two Brewing Company also doesn't sell at The Beer Store.

Chapter Two Brewing Company chose not to sell at The Beer Store, in part because it's difficult to showcase their product to customers in the store setting. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

Co-owner Terry Dube of Chapter Two said it's because of the "insurmountable" barrier to entry for smaller players.

"So we're a small business who brings a niche product of very high quality directly to an aficionado or an enthusiast audience," said Dube.

"And The Beer Store doesn't really address that market effectively and it's really not geared or built to service our market."

Right now the brewery sells at a taproom, through eateries and other alcohol establishments.

Concerns about breaking contract

Labatt Brewing Company Limited and Molson Canada 2005, two of three brewers who predominantly own The Beer Store, have sent a letter to the province via their legal counsel.

The lawyers mention the job cuts that would result from terminating this contract. They also say their clients reserve the right to challenge the bill that's been tabled.

The potential cost from breaking the contract worries Windsorite Philip Dutton.

"It's going to be expensive, and it's a waste of millions of dollars," said Dutton. "I don't see why we can't wait for a few years and let the contract run out."

But Goure isn't too worried. He thinks it was inevitable that the contract would be broken at some point.

"So I'd rather break the contract and get it done than try to renegotiate when the contract comes up," he said.

With files from Katerina Georgieva


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?