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Delirium Tremens (or finding quality alcohol outside the SAQ)

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  • kudos Sep 20, 2009 07:07 PM
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I just discovered this but it's only sold by the bottle at the SAQ. Are there specialty beer/wine shops in the city that might sell in larger quantities/cheaper?

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  1. New in the province, eh?

    Wine and hard liquor can only be sold through SAQ outlets as it's government-run. Depanneurs (aka cornerstores) and supermarkets also sell wine but it's got extra tax and it's plonk grade (their very silly "vin d'appelation de qualité" is meaningless)

    Some specialty beers are sold at SAQ but most beer is sold in supermarkets and depanneurs. There no beer stores here like they have in Ontario. I have no idea how you can buy a keg, like from a frat party -- I'm just too old for that LOL

    The SAQ has discontinued its bulk wine (bottle your own) point of sales in Montreal: I guess people thought the wines offered were so awful that they stayed away in droves!

    I keep an eye on sales, sometimes the SAQ puts up a worthwhile rebate and then I stock up.

    You can also tackle making your own, I suppose: several shops in town offer beer or wine kits.

    6 Replies
    1. re: TheSnowpea

      Buying a keg on the island is not legal, although some bars will sell them to enterprising young students. Don't ask me how I know.

      As for making your own wines, it's an interesting endeavor but takes a few years to get good at it, and about 2 years to even properly sample the work of that first year, if you buy proper grapes and age it correctly. Making beer, in contrast, is fun, cheaper, and fast =D

      I recall hearing that you can have the SAQ order in stuff for you. Perhaps this is something to try?

      1. re: The Chemist

        The SAQ has a monopoly on wine & beer sales and/or pricing. Therefore even if you can find Delirium Tremens outside the SAQ (i.e at a specialty depanneur or through the distributor) you will have to pay the SAQ price.

        1. re: eat2much

          It's the Régie des alcools that sets the price of beer, not the SAQ. And even then, they only set the minimal price for beer. They don't control what a store decides to charge for premium beer.

        2. re: The Chemist

          "some bars will sell them to enterprising young students. Don't ask me how I know."

          I wouldn't, since you're clearly getting those at a substantial mark-up and you're not so enterprising as you fancy yourself. Anyone I know who's had a keg had no prob getting it directly from your friendly neighbourhood beer company rep. In fact, they often got it free or near-free with sponsorship of event (a surefire sign that its "illegal", lol).

        3. re: TheSnowpea

          "Wine and hard liquor can only be sold through SAQ outlets as it's government-run. Depanneurs (aka cornerstores) and supermarkets also sell wine but it's got extra tax and it's plonk grade (their very silly "vin d'appelation de qualité" is meaningless)"

          I think of it as Cuvée du St. Laurent.

          BTW check my thread on Chez Bernard in St. Sauveur. They are private importers of wine. It's the only non-SAQ place where I've seen wine.

          1. re: souschef

            «It's the only non-SAQ place where I've seen wine.»

            Olive & Gourmando and Les Cons Servent used to sell wine to go and may well still. Bouchonné and a couple of others I'm forgetting have begun doing so, too. I believe they're exploiting a loophole following a change in the law that allows wine and beer to be sold with take-out and order-in meals. If so, you probably have to order food along with your bottle.

        4. The easiest way to get a keg in Montreal is to drive to Ontario, and buy one at the Beer Store, might have to call in advance to make sure they have some (especially if going to smaller stores)

          1 Reply
          1. re: westaust

            Um, not quite. The easiest way is make yourself a regular at a friendly bar and get the manager to introduce you to the beer rep. You'll get it easier and cheaper than any other way. It's not rocket science, and its definetely not illegal.

          2. Back to the request of the OP, which is where to find said beer, if it's sold as a specialty product at SAQ outlets, ilts very unlikely to be found anywhere else in the province. What sells at SAQ doesn't sell elsewhere aside from a few Quebec made products sold at Marché des Saveurs at JTM.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Campofiorin

              "What sells at SAQ doesn't sell elsewhere..."

              Isn't there some overlap with beer? Not that I've paid close attention, but I'm pretty sure my local SAQ Express has a few beers that can also be found in grocery stores.

              1. re: Mr F

                That's possible, note that I said it was unlikely not impossible. It could apply to a few beers.

                1. re: Campofiorin

                  I know that certain brewers like Cheval Blanc have beers both at the SAQ and at grocery stores, but they are not the same beers.

            2. By "larger quantities," do you mean by the case or in large-format bottles?

              If the former, you should be able to buy it by the case at the SAQ. Go to www.saq.com and do a search on the name. On the product's page, click the Outlets button. Select the area you're interested in. A listing of the outlets in that area, plus the number of bottles they have on hand, should appear. Choose outlets that have significantly more bottles than are found in a case (24 for most beers) and give them a call and ask. As far as I know, case discounts apply only to wines and spirits purchased at the SAQ Dépôt outlet. The other outlets sometimes have 10%-off and other promotions, though a minimum purchase (e.g. $100) is often required.

              If you're talking about, say, 750-ml bottles, you should find out which agency (aka private importer) represents the beer in Quebec (the first place to look would be on one of the 330-ml bottles). Then give the agency a call and ask about distribution. If they bring the big bottles in, you can probably order a case (usually 6 or 12 bottles) through them and have it delivered to a nearby Sélection outlet, where you can pick it up and pay for it. The price will be slightly higher than if the SAQ stocked it, and promotional discounts will not apply.

              2 Replies
              1. re: carswell

                Actually the scale discount applies to everything sold at SAQ Dépôt and goes as high as 15% for 12 products or more. You can mix and match as much as you want. I know a lot of people who buy 6 bottles of wine and fill the case with 6 beers to get the 15% discount.

                1. re: Campofiorin

                  If you say so. I've only bought wine there. Their pre-Flash website mentioned only wine and spirits and the mixed cases in the pics on their current website and in their current circular don't include any beers. In any case, the question is moot as far as the DT is concerned, since the Dépôt outlet doesn't stock it.

              2. If you're looking for speciality beers like Delirium Tremens, try
                Le Paradis de la Bière (Rahman)
                151 Laurier ouest, Montréal
                or look on the SAQ website to see which store has the best imported beer selection. I've found a couple of trappist beers on the SAQ on 440, boul. De Maisonneuve Ouest.

                1. http://www.legrandduc.com/

                  It's on the South Shore and has a huge selection of specialty beers that you won't find anywhere.

                  There's also the Metro grocery store on de l'Église in Verdun. It's a couple of blocks from de l'Église metro on the green line, so it's very easy to get to if you're a pedestrian like me.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: simrit

                    I just checked out Le Grand Duc website. Their QC selection is enormous, but not in the least bit impressed by their Belgian selection. SAQ has a much better selection of special imported Belgian beers.
                    BTW: was in DC recently and had pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso. Their beer selection was simply A-MA-ZING! Not only did they have a stellar Belgian selection, they also had my fave brewpub beer Dieu du Ciel. Pizza was good too. http://www.eatyourpizza.com

                  2. By larger quantities I mean cases of maybe 24, max. It'd just be nice to not have to cart individual bottles, and to not have to pay 3.80 for each one :\

                    I checked out the LCBO and they don't seem to sell it at all. The Beer Store is offering a keg for a few hundred dollars, but that's a tad much.

                    1. FYI just got my weekly email circular from SAQ. Seems there's a SAS Depot sale on

                      "GROS ACHATS, GROSSES ÉCONOMIES
                      Plus vous achetez dans les SAQ Dépôt, plus vos rabais sont conséquents : 3 bouteilles : 3 % de rabais, 6 bouteilles : 10 % de rabais, 12 bouteilles et plus : 15 %! Sans oublier les zones « Dernière chance » et « Rabais escalier ». Vous êtes sûr d’économiser!"
                      http://www.saq.com/webapp/wcs/stores/...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: TheSnowpea

                        Nope, that's the usual deal at SAQ Dépôt, that'S why it's alway excluded of the other promotion the SAQ network may have (eg: 10$ off $100 or more).

                        1. re: Campofiorin

                          Ah, well then. Thanks. I rarely drive far enough to get to the Depot, so I am Depot-inexperienced :-)