Not the same system as rural ‘agency stores’
WINCHESTER — Winchester Foodland has tapped into the gradual rollout of beer and cider to Ontario grocery stores. The local operation was revealed as one of the few selected rural sites last week.
As of June 30, the store will feature a new alcoholic beverage section with those two products, confirms Winchester Foodland owner Dan Pettigrew.
The date was set by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), and the local grocery store must be ready by that deadline.
Pettigrew explained “a minimum of 25 percent” of the alcoholic product sold at the store must be craft beer, as part of the regulated arrangement.
Announced with great fanfare two years ago, the Wynne government’s cautious, phased-in program only permits the sale of six packs of beer and cider at approved outlets, since expanded to wine in some cases.
The weaker Wynne initiative is not to be confused with the less restrictive “agency store” model that has long permitted a number of rural retail establishments — like Pronto in Finch, Russell Foodland, Crysler Home Hardware and Rick’s Gas in South Mountain — to offer a fuller range of LCBO offerings in all quantities, including hard liquor.
Many stores have applied for the latest opportunity, but Pettigrew said only five urban and five rural stores were chosen in the latest round in Eastern Ontario.
Russell Foodland opened its doors with its licence already intact, which meant they they could sell beer, cider and wine, he observed.
As for Winchester Foodland, the store will offer beer and cider only “for now,” but the owner is “hopeful that down the road” he will be able to carry wine as well.
While store hours will remain unchanged at Winchester Foodland — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — program rules will restrict actual beer and cider sales to 9 a.m to 11 p.m Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. A separate set of Statutory holiday hours could be imposed for alcoholic beverage sales, too, according to Pettigrew. That issue will be determined by the Township of North Dundas.
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