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How local alcohol businesses are reacting to LCBO strike


Locally-owned alcohol businesses are making adjustments to attract more customers while LCBO workers across the province are on strike.

On Friday morning at 12:01, thousands of workers went on strike, closing down hundreds of LCBO storefronts.

Elora Distilling Co. is one of many local companies that are expanding their retail hours to accommodate customers.

“Our plan is to extend our hours. Our hours will be the same as LCBO hours starting next week,” Marty Van Vliet, a co-owner at Elora Distilling. Co., said.

“It’s to make sure that people felt comfortable coming out and if they’re driving to Elora, we’d be open for them.”

Van Vliet said the distillery is optimistic about sales over the next few weeks.

“We’re hope that [the strike] is actually good for our business. We hope that people will come out and start to explore craft and what’s being made here in Ontario,” he said.

“We don’t get a lot of exposure at LCBO stores. It’s hard to get into LCBO stores and if we do get in, we’re generally relegated to the bottom shelf.”

The shelves are stocked at Elora Distilling Co. (CTV News/Stefanie Davis)

Magnotta Winery, which operates 14 storefronts in the province, is also extending hours during the strike.

“We have a ton of promotions that we’re doing right now, especially now that the strike is happening at least for these 14 days. The consumer can really gain a lot from visiting one of our stores or ordering online,” Rossana Magnotta, the CEO of Magnotta Winery, said.

On Friday afternoon, she said they’re already noticing more people visiting their stores and ordering online.

“Most of it is our own customers that are concerned. They want to put their orders in online because they don’t want to be backlogged with so many people putting orders in,” Magnotta said.

She added many local businesses make more money from sales at their own locations versus LCBO sales. She also said there are environmental benefits to shopping local.

“When you are supporting a local winery, you have a very small carbon footprint because these products are local,” she said.

“When the LCBO or other importers bring in product from Argentina or Chile or wherever, there’s a huge carbon footprint there.”

According to the LCBO, there are about 2,300 points of sale throughout the province still open to sell liquor. Those include LCBO convenience outlets, licensed grocery stores, The Beer Store, as well as local wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries.

Online orders are still available at LCBO, but the website says “deliver to store, same-day pickup and on-demand delivery through LCBO are currently unavailable.”

There are also limits on how many products can be ordered online.

CTV News Kitchener reached out to LCBO for further explanation on the online ordering process but has not yet received a response. Top Stories

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