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Mar 15, 2004 06:42 PM

Bring Your Own Wine debate

  • r

What does everyone think about the new debate on Bring Your Own Wine? The industry seems all against it while Consumers seem for it.

I personally do not think it will work in Ontario unless they start to allow corner stores to sell wine. As people looking for a Liquor store open late is chore...

Also since I am not a wine drinker it would piss me off that they can have their wine but I cant bring in my drinks...

The biggest complaint I heard was people saying a bottle of wine that you buy at the liquor store for $12 you end up paying $7 a glass for... But have they looked at the rest of the prices $2.50 for a glass of pop $3 for bottled water and what about a steak you can buy one at a butcher for a lot less then they sell it for on any menu! :-)

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  1. Sounds like you support the half empty side of the argument. Of course it could work, restaurants just don't want to lose all the $ they make on the obscene markups.IMO most evenings out are planned and wine would be purchased ahead of time. Yours is the classic argument of I won't benefit ,so why should anyone else.

    7 Replies
    1. re: jimbo

      There would have to be a many licensing changes(obviously). I think that it is expensive and difficult to get a liquour license. That would need to change. In Australia where this works wonderfully, there seems to be a couple of tiers to licensing.

      1) No license, this would be take away counters etc.
      2) Small cheap/mid priced restaurants, they benefit enormously as they pay virtually nothing in licensing to allow people to bring wine.
      3) High end restaurants, pay top dollar for full license and thus no BYOB. It likely means that Susur would not allow BYOB.

      The Liquor stores in Ontario can do anything they want. Remember when you couldn't use credit cards or buy on Sundays. Small LCBO bottle shops on College open at 11 are another monopoly waiting to happen.

      1. re: alsiem

        I liked the comment that I heard from an industry representative on a recent radio show: Let's look at this as part of a package of reforms to liquor distribution. The example he gave was wholesale pricing for wine (which is not presently available).

        I don't think that wide-open BYOW is likely, nor is it an answer to anything but political popularity. The time has come for a comprehensive review of improvements to the distribution system, but it will likely never happen if any of the lucrative tax revenues are threatened.

        1. re: alsiem

          I forgot to mention that the mid tier restaurants do charge a corkage fee, from $3 to $7 in my experience. So restaurants do get a nominal charge that would be the same as if people ordered cokes etc.

        2. re: jimbo

          OK but I really like an expensive Scotch that nobody carries, do you think I should be able to bring in my own bottle? I was at a place last night and noticed they were selling beer for $6 a bottle. At the beer store it is about $1.50 yet nobody is asking for bring your own beer.. I have never understood what makes wine different?

          Also as the above person mentioned. The wine selection a Liqour stores in Ontario is poor, so why not have them make it easier for the restaurants to get better wines, right now you have to get all wine through the LCBO.

          1. re: Rob

            And why don't people start bringing in their own food because they like a certain type of fish or meat that isn't on the menu? There are plenty of wine agents who deal with the LCBO and still bring in grea wines. Ones that restaurants have on their lists that are not accesable to the general public.

            1. re: veggrl

              With respect - this isn't the same situation.
              If you like (say) Plaice - you can probably find it at another restaurant - so go there. Similarly with beer (a point raised by others) although I accede to the 'rare whisky' point made earlier.
              The issue is to have wine that's 'ready to drink' or not available in the stores or restaurants. I can store a wine until it reaches its 'peak' (I know that's subjective, but the point is that the LCBO doesn't generally stock older vintages).
              I would happily pay a fee to be able to drink wines that are not available anywhere in Toronto. I boycott restaurants (or wines) that are marked up by 200% which were bought the same week.
              And when I find a good 'agent' wine, I buy it direct from them. At the risk of generalizing too far, the markups on these wines exceed the markups on LCBO wines because the diner is not generally aware of the cost to the restaurant. And the caveat - some restaurants do indeed stock private imports because they are fine wines - but I suspect the proportion doing this is relatively small.

              1. re: estufarian

                True, not the same situation. However; the first post on this topic whined(no pun intended) that steaks cost more in restaurants the he pays at the butcher shop. So the solution is simple- better wine + cheaper food = a great night at home with friends.

        3. BYOB at Chinese and Indian restaurants would be most welcome! You could bring your own well-chosen wines instead of putting up with the standard Piat d'Or plonk.

          1. Restaurants oppose it because liquor is where the profit is, while food sales cover the costs. (A restaurant will not object to you bringing a cake for a birthday party. They will cut it up and serve it for you.)

            A compromise would be to allow patrons to BYOW with say a $5 charge, otherwise pay the restaurant prices. I would rather pay the $5 and bring my own choice of wine than be limited in selection and pay the huge mark up.

            Of course, a restaurant does not have to allow you to BYOW, but I think it should have the choice. Some restaurants could serve the BYOW market, while others would stick with the present system. (What a novel idea: let people choose what to do instead of having the government tell them what they can and cannot do.) Mammina's only marks up their wine $5, their food is good and they seem to be doing well.

            Montreal restaurants allow BYOW, and they seem to be doing fine. Maybe allowing more BYOW will bring more customers into their restaurants, especially during the week. Restaurants should not be opposing this, they should embrace it.

            1. Of course food is more expensive in restaurants than from the source, it's called the restaurant BUSINESS. And the owner has to make money just like everyone else in the world. There are a great many costs involved in running a restaurant that the average joe doesn't begin to comprehend.I'll list only a few...
              1) Rent
              2) Insurance
              3) Labour- including EI,UI,CPP contributions which
              match what the employee pays
              4) Plates, Glasses, Cutlery, Linnen. Stock and replacements when they break
              5) Machines and soap to wash the above.
              6)a linnen company to wash and press linnens.
              7) Maintenance on all equipment
              8)Hydro and gas to heat, cool, and cook.

              This is only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to operating costs involved in restaurant operations.
              Not to mention that in many restaurants someone goes to great effort to choose wine that will complement the menu. The last thing anyone wants to see is a bottle of cooking wine arriving in a brown paper bag to be consumed with the food the kitchen sweats to produce. Unfortunately common sence does not always prevail!!

              1. b
                Brock Shepherd

                How about instead of allowing people to bring thier own wine into restaurants, We have independant wine and liquor stores as well as LCBO stores. Wine agents are already handling and dealing with so many factors. Why can't there be 2 or 3 independant stores per neighbourhood offering everything from cheap to expensive products.
                This is just the government's way of offering ( the possibility) or should we say dangling doggie treats to the public so we don't force the Privitization issue. They do it every few years. Little bit by bit.
                Bottle Service, Sunday Service, Extended Licences.