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

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ylsf Jun 2, 2011 06:13 PM

Just read on The Grid (formerly Eye Weekly) online ( http://www.thegridto.com/life/food-dr... ) 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. aser RE: ylsf Jun 2, 2011 06:51 PM

    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
      y
      ylsf RE: aser Jun 2, 2011 08:03 PM

      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
        aser RE: ylsf Jun 3, 2011 08:43 AM

        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
          k
          Kooper RE: ylsf Jun 3, 2011 10:22 AM

          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. atomeyes RE: ylsf Jun 2, 2011 07:15 PM

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

        ITS RUN BY THE MEGACORPORATIONS!

        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. atomeyes RE: ylsf Jun 3, 2011 05:54 AM

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

          http://beeradvocate.com/lists/top-ca

          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
            j
            julesrules RE: atomeyes Jun 3, 2011 07:45 AM

            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
              aser RE: atomeyes Jun 3, 2011 08:51 AM

              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
                atomeyes RE: aser Jun 4, 2011 06:54 AM

                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
                  t
                  TexSquared RE: atomeyes Jun 4, 2011 09:02 AM

                  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
                    j
                    jcontario RE: TexSquared Jun 4, 2011 09:23 AM

                    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
                      t
                      TexSquared RE: jcontario Jun 4, 2011 09:42 AM

                      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
                        y
                        ylsf RE: jcontario Jun 4, 2011 09:09 PM

                        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
                          c
                          crawfish RE: jcontario Jun 6, 2011 06:53 AM

                          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. duckdown RE: ylsf Jun 4, 2011 11:33 AM

                  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: duckdown
                    Kagemusha RE: duckdown Jun 6, 2011 07:03 AM

                    Gimme a Duff!

                     
                  2. k
                    Kassi22 RE: ylsf Jun 10, 2011 10:38 AM

                    Post in the Toronto Star about it

                    http://www.thestar.com/business/artic...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Kassi22
                      atomeyes RE: Kassi22 Jun 10, 2011 01:42 PM

                      "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
                        Kagemusha RE: atomeyes Jun 10, 2011 02:04 PM

                        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.

                    2. y
                      YYZjeff RE: ylsf Jun 25, 2011 12:34 PM

                      Anyone else been here yet?

                      I was downtown this morning and stopped in to see what it was like. It's no different from the beer section of a large/medium LCBO. I was at the Summerhill LCBO last weekend and their beer selection is a lot better so I doubt I'll find a reason to go back to the Beer Boutique. Labatt and Molson take up a lot of real estate in the store unfortunately.

                      If I lived in Liberty Village, I'd probably be pretty happy about this place though that neighbourhood already has a large LCBO. The employees were super friendly and it's nicely decorated inside.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: YYZjeff
                        j
                        jamesm RE: YYZjeff Jun 25, 2011 02:58 PM

                        Weird location if they offer nothing different than the LCBO. Especially since that LCBO just expanded.

                      2. g
                        Gary RE: ylsf Nov 17, 2011 02:56 PM

                        Saw a "coming soon" sign tonight in the Distillery District for a Beer Boutique. I assume it's another location of the same concept. It's on the external Mill St. side, in the space that used to be the back entrance to Fresh and Wild, next to the newish spa. Doesn't look very big, though.

                        So now that's it's been open in Liberty Village for awhile, is the general concensus still that the Beer Boutique sells the exact same stuff as the Beer Store? There's a huge new LCBO opening in the former Toronto Sun building imminently, so at least the selection available in this area will improve drastically. The only frustrating part is that I can now easily walk to about half a dozen LCBOs and brewpubs to buy beer, but none of them are actually Beer Stores, so I can't bring my empties back for deposit unless I lug them several kilometres to River St. No thanks.

                        -----
                        Distillery District
                        55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Gary
                          l
                          LexiFirefly RE: Gary Nov 18, 2011 05:31 AM

                          You can't make returns at the beer boutique either. I live in Liberty at the moment and I was really miffed by that! I still need to hike to Brock st. to return my empties! The only reason I justified my rent here was so I didn't need a car (frustrating!)
                          Mill St. used to accept their own empties at the retail store by the brew pub, but maybe not anymore since they're mostly out of Scarborough now.

                          1. re: LexiFirefly
                            g
                            Gary RE: LexiFirefly Nov 18, 2011 08:02 AM

                            Mill St. still takes their own empties back, I do it all the time. I just wish their bottled beers were more consistent (I like their Wit on draught but in the bottles they taste sour at least half the time).

                            1. re: Gary
                              l
                              LexiFirefly RE: Gary Nov 20, 2011 05:40 AM

                              I agree on the bottle issues. I find usually the sampler packs are more consistent (maybe the solid cardboard box?) but then I always have the issue of the one I don't like sitting in my fridge forever!

                        2. atomeyes RE: ylsf Nov 17, 2011 09:15 PM

                          In the end, it is what it is: a facade for people who think beer is best served "Rocky Mountain Cold" and who drool at the selection of awesomeness like Wildcat, Rickard's White and a smattering of Ontario's most uninspiring craft beer.

                          i'll continue to buy my beer out of province or through private wholesalers, like Keep6, Rolland and Russell or Esprit Agencies.

                          If you don't know about any of the above 3 agencies, I suggest you do your homework. That's where all the GREAT beer is, not at the LCBO, Beer Store or Beer Boutique.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: atomeyes
                            Frids RE: atomeyes Nov 18, 2011 02:29 AM

                            Sorry but isn't that just a bit of an overstatement? Would you not at least agree that the LCBO carries some great beer?

                            1. re: Frids
                              atomeyes RE: Frids Nov 18, 2011 04:05 AM

                              I would also state that Mandarian has some tasty food at their buffet....but most of it is mass-produced crap.

                              November/December is the best time for beer at the LCBO. There are SOME very good gift packs and SOME excellent bottles (Unibrou 17, La Chouffe, Dieu du Ciel). but then you still have a large selection of tallboy cans that are meg to average beer, you have some strange european beer selections while missing some of Europe's top beer. You have the LCBO releasing a holiday gift pack list and then not putting inventory in stores (St Bernadus giftpack).

                              I am looking at buying some beer for the weekend. Trust me - its a struggle to find beer to get excited about.

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