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.
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!