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Jun 2, 2011 06:13 PM

The Beer Boutique - new The Beer Store concept - Liberty Village

Just read on The Grid (formerly Eye Weekly) online ( ) about a new Beer Store concept opening up in Liberty Village soon. Sounds like more craft beers will be featured. I hate shopping at the Beer Store and much prefer LCBO for purchasing items so this a nice improvement (although I even like shopping in the USA more for beer... so much more selection, even of Quebec beer!).

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  1. Wolf in sheep's clothing....

    Unfortunately no, there won't be any extra beer that isn't otherwise available at other TBS locations. It's targeting sales of craft beer as walk in TBS traditionally sell much more micros than old school board ordering TBS. The hands on factor/packaging is key for consumers in trying new product.

    For the record, TBS' business practices makes it prohibitive for most micros to sell their product. That is why most of the times you'll only find them at LCBO. They see LCBO's rising marketshare of craft sales, the fat cats want a piece of that pie too.

    TBS charges brewers a $2600 listing fee for a product, plus a per store location fee ($100), plus they have to deliver to each store individually. Does it make sense to sell a seasonal beer that'll only be on shelves for 3 months when you have to pay $2600 each time you introduce a new beer? Think of how many TBS locations there are in the province x $100.

    TBS' main goal is to sell their own product (Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V., Molson/Coors, Sapporo/Sleeman).

    Oh you can buy glasswear, apparel and other accessories at this new location. Talk about breaking new ground.

    I go to TBS only to return my empties.

    3 Replies
    1. re: aser

      Wow, I didn't know the listing fee was that high. Crazy.

      I meant to say I "hate" shopping at TBS but I sad "had" instead...edited now

      I knew they were run by the big breweries but didn't realize some of the economics of it. Thanks for the write up.

      1. re: ylsf

        Ignorance is bliss for TBS bigwigs. They're banking on the general public's apathy towards the province's self-imposed duopoly on alcohol sales. Most people still think TBS is owned by the province.

        Even the press (if you can call the grid/eye that) gloss over the hard facts of this system.

        1. re: ylsf

          I wish the smaller breweries could get together and open a series of Ontario only Craft Breweries stores similar to the wine rack. I don' know what it would take to happen (Provincial Legislation?) but if Mill Street, Steam Whistle and Flying monkeys got together I am sure we could get something opened in downtown Toronto.

      2. If you expect anything more than shelvesful of disappointment, you really are quite silly.


        and if it wasn't, the Ontario government already severely limits our beer options!! we can't even get the best of our neighbouring provinces' brews here year round!!!

        1. By the way, here's the Beer Advocate list of the top 100 Canadian beer:

          Out of the top 100, how many can you get at the LCBO? Maybe 10, if you're lucky enough to go during the 4 weeks they carry Dieu du Ciel?
          Out of those 10, how many are carried by the Beer Store? 1 or 2, I think.

          This boutique will be a farce

          8 Replies
          1. re: atomeyes

            Interesting that so many of the top-rated beers are high alcohol, not my thing, guess I'll never be a true beerhound
            I agree the boutique concept is totally lame.

            1. re: atomeyes

              I hope anyone reading this thread will think twice about spending their money at TBS in the future. LCBO is "FAR" from perfect, but at least the money doesn't feed the pockets of some of the richest foreign brewers in the world.

              1. re: aser

                Yesterday, we had to pick up a chilled 6-pack for our barbecue we were hosting.
                There's a Beer Store near our house. We picked up a bbq-friendly beer (Mill House Stock Ale - a simple, clean summer beer that's great w/meat). My wife walked out of the beer store, totally amazed at what people were purchasing. a huge bottle of Old English, a 24 of Brava....

                Trust me when I say that beer snobs are not the Beer Store's target audience. Look at their Top Ten Sellers wall and you'll laugh. Wildcat, anyone?

                1. re: atomeyes

                  That's no different than listing the top 10 selling burgers in Ontario... and I suspect you'll find the Big Mac, Wendy's Baconator, Harvey's, etc, all in there and not m:brgr's $100 special.

                  Beer or wine snobs have to go to the U.S. to get selection and competitive pricing. I do not buy any alcohol at LCBO or TBS on principle. And I'm no snob.

                  1. re: TexSquared

                    Tex, I am with you. I am fortunate enough to live close to the US border and also travel often to Alberta, so I have options to pick up reasonably priced beers and spirits with a much wider selection than our provincial monopolies provide us with. In Alberta I can get a wider scotch selection in the Calgary Airport than I can find in any liquor store in Ontario. Plus the prices are about 20 to 30 % less. I avoid the LCBO and TBS on principle. When will we get a provincial government with the intestinal fortitude to bring us out of our 19th century prohibtion mindset and treat us like responsible adults? So long as alcohol sales are controlled by the Big 3 breweries and the government, concepts like The Beer Boutique are just putting lipstick on the same pig. Rant Over!

                    1. re: jcontario

                      I buy most of my wines and liquors at Supermarket Liquors and Wines in Niagara Falls, NY. This place blows away the pricing and selection of the even the biggest LCBO/Vintages locations. I see lots of Ontarians roaming the aisles carrying LCBO magazines/catalogs with them to compare prices. Well worth the trip, cheaper than duty free.

                      I'm sure there are bigger/better/snobbier shops in Buffalo but Supermarket Liquors fits the bill for me. Go in there once and you'll never want to shop LCBO again.

                      1. re: jcontario

                        I recently read about how it is illegal to cross most provincial borders with alcohol...
                        so theoretically the above is actually illegal. Crazy but it is the law. Not like it would stop me.

                        1. re: jcontario

                          I have no problem with the LCBO. Those of you that think we would have more selection if it was privatized are deluding yourselves. Just shop in small towns in the US and try to find anything but wine coolers and Bud. But here in small town Ontario where you would be out of luck finding anything more interesting than Rickard's Red in a local bar the local LCBO carries micro brews. If demand sets the selection, you and I will be out of luck when away from our big city niche markets.

                          I'm not a fan of the Beer Store though. I think the whole thing should be handed over to the LCBO. They have a great beer selection.

                          Back to this Beer Boutique, I don't understand why they would open this in the same strip mall as a great LCBO with a HUGE beer section. If this neighbourhood has an outstanding need it would be schlock beer.

                2. I'm still vexed at the LCBO and Beer Store for rejecting "Smash Bomb Atomic IPA" to be sold because the word "Smash" implies "smashed" and they are acting like it's a bad influence.

                  What a bunch of idiots running that place

                  1 Reply
                    1. re: Kassi22

                      "Paterson, meanwhile, says The Beer Store has had “a lot of meetings with a lot of craft brewers” about the Beer Boutique, but admitted that adding more craft beers wasn’t at the top of the new store format’s priority list.

                      “That wasn’t one of our objectives,” said Paterson. “We’ve been doing a good job at carrying good beer, whether it’s from craft brewers, bigger breweries, or even imports.”"

                      um, I think i'll pass, jerkface

                      1. re: atomeyes

                        Pure genius. Task the guy who gave it away to the LCBO not only to buy it back but also to grow it. LCBO wins again.