Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Grinch Who Stole Your Christmas Beer...

Today we launched Buy Your Beau’s Online, our project with Operation Come Home to deliver beer to people’s homes in Ottawa, and promptly had the service effectively shut down by the AGCO.

That’s right, after less than a day of operation, BYBO has been closed, after another brewery (we weren’t told which one) complained. The complaint has nothing to do with the service or the fact that at-risk youth were involved, but over a technicality involving what I believe to be a typo in the regulations around home beer delivery services.

Our retail store operates as an authorized beer store by the LCBO, but the regulation around home delivery uses the wording ‘operated' instead of ‘authorized’, which is how it is worded to allow us to sell to special occasion permit holders, and retail customers. It is interesting to note that the Beer Store, which is not operated by the LCBO or government is somehow allowed to sell to home delivery services.

So...

No specialty beer delivered to our Ottawa customers.
No employment for homeless youth, to get them off the street.
No additional revenue for Operation Come Home.

What’s really got me irked about this situation is the complete arbitrariness of the regulation that is being used to kill a social enterprise designed to do good for the community and the malicious behaviour by another brewery in this province.

The Beer Store is a retail outlet owned by three breweries. Why would they be allowed to sell to a home delivery service and Beau’s (or any other brewery) not be? It doesn’t make any sense, it’s anti-competitive and it restricts choice to the residents of this province.

I know that there are a lot of cut-throat competitive tactics used by some of the less honourable members of the brewing community, but taking a job from a homeless youth to thwart us is beyond reprehensible.

I’m disappointed that the AGCO has decided to act this way, using the letter and not the spirit of the law to guide their decision-making, but ultimately I understand that they may not have had a choice once the complaint was lodged. I would have rathered more consultation from them or that they refused the delivery license application when they were informed how the service would work. If that had happened, at least Corey and Kyle, the two youths who had been hired to start this service, wouldn’t have had their hopes lifted and then let down in such a dramatic way.

I’m simply aghast, though that another brewery instigated this.
I’m really disappointed that this service is unfortunately going to be shut down.

I’m sorry to the youth who have been dealt yet another misfortune, to our customers who were looking forward to gaining better access to our beer and to other breweries who probably would have been able to use similar models to compete better in this Province.

Don't worry, though. We will find another way to get beer to our customers and we won't stop trying to help our community. Vive la Beau's!

27 comments:

Alex said...

Outrageous! Who would be a good contact at the liquor board to contact? 319 people shared your news release on Facebook about this awesome service—we should get this situation fixed.

Sean Bawden said...

Steve:

Is the only issue the location from which the beer was purchased? I.E. your delivery people cannot buy it from the brewery, but must buy it from an LCBO? Is there not an obvious work around here?

Michael said...

Did the AGCO offer an explanation of why The Beer Store can do this while Beau's cannot?

mikey said...

Hi there,

What is "ACGO"

It would be possible to utilize the services of an "A-Tip" to weed out the brewery involved.

Phillip said...

Hopefully the name of this other brewery is revealed soon, I'd like make sure I don't buy their products.

Marc Daze said...

I'm sure you will find a solution Steve...The world is a better place because of beer!

Phillip said...

Hopefully the name of the brewery is revealed soon, i'd like to make sure i don't buy their products.

Rob said...

Steve - this stinks and it's pretty low for one of your competitors to complain and not have AGCO stand up and do the right thing for our community.

Hoping you guys can find another way around. Happy holidays.

Tom Kane / Toronto said...

Boo Hiss! I was excited when I read about the project, and selfishly cheered because I like the LugTread (thank you Local Pub, in T.O.).

Any brewery that uses "This beer kills imports" knows its history of music and social consciousness.

Melissa / refashionista said...

Who can we lobby? Where best to direct our complaints?

Melissa / refashionista said...

Who best to lobby? Where should we direct our complaints for maximum impact?

NotQuiteSonic said...

It is amazing that the Beer Store monopoly has been protected in Ontario for so long.

Falcon said...

Sad, sad, sad, I raise my Beau's in support.
It's time for Ontario to allow "dépaneurs" convenience stores to sell beer, that would create a loop-hole for Beau's to sell to a "dépaneur" at a competitive rate, then to the delivery service.
But I guess the lobby behind the Beer Store is also the reason why "dépaneurs" have been trying to get the right to sell beer without any results for so many years...

Conclusion: Politicians should drink more good beer (ie: not from the beer store).

Admviolin said...

This is clearly not the handiwork of a smaller craft brewery. I say Inbev.

Ron Eade said...

Remember: Beer, wine and liquor sales in Ontario is anything but competitive or creative. It is a monopoly, period. They do as they like, up to and including publishing glossy magazine with ads from wine and spirits and beer makers who -- OMG -- tremble at the prospect of suffering if they don't buy in. No one in the private sector could get away with it, they'd be charged with conspiracy and price-fixing against the public interest. Alcohol sales in Ontario is a complete scandal, filled with conflict of interest.

Alexa said...

I'd suggest complaining to the local MPPs, including Dalton McGuinty. Hopefully if they know of the double-standard being applied by the AGCO's interpretation of its rules and how it's damaging new business models in a emerging industry (craft brewing) for the province, then maybe the politicians will do something about it. Wishful thinking, I know, but hey, it's worth a shot.

Anonymous said...

People: call your MPP.

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3 Dog Brewery said...

My guess is it's the owners of the so called "Beer Store". They have a monopoly and will do anything to keep it.

Nat said...

If you are outraged, consider the following actions:

- Make a complaint to the AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) who made this ill-sighted decision.

http://www.agco.on.ca/en/contact/complaints.aspx

- Start a letter campaign to the provincial Minister responsible for the AGCO, the Minister John Gerretsen, Attorney General of Ontario.

http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/contact.asp

Lastly, to make a request information about the brewery who made the initial complaint, consider filing a Freedom of Information request for $5.

http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/Access-To-Information/Accessing-Public-Information/

Anonymous said...

This is very sad.

I love Beau's.

Who complained and why?

pete said...

Steve, let me know if you need someone to help with this. We a small consulting firm down the hill from you (in L'Orignal) and we've got some former provincial inspectors that could help you out with this mess.

TenVolt said...

If the Beer Store is technically in violation of this same rule because they are not "operated" by the LCBO, perhaps file a complaint against them? Also some contact info for the AGCO and LCBO would be handy so we know who to complain to. I know we can look it up but not everyone has the time/wherewithal.

TenVolt said...

If the Beer Store is not operated by the LCBO either, perhaps you or we can file a complaint against them and get the ball rolling in terms of changing the wording of the regulation? Also you may want to post AGCO / LCBO contact info for those who don't have the time/wherewithal to look it up.

Melanie Rebane Photography said...

Can we in some way salvage the charitable aspect for Christmas and pay an extra few dollars with our purchase for the youth charity?...When the name of the brewery is announced... banned in my books... Sad all around, but especially for the youth that would have benefitted most...

Driving Libertarian said...

If we lived and worked in a true "Free Market"; Would your service be accepted and paid for by the market? Your true market "regulators" are your potential customers. We need to deregulate the regulators! How do we make this Idea "deregulate" more popular? Look here: http://www.libertarian.on.ca/blogs/allen-small/making-unthinkable-more-popular-libertarian-goal

readmore article said...

would be very wise when we buy beer directly in its place of manufacture. theorized it was good, but in fact need to strengthen