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Ontario to allow beer sales in grocery stores

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It's a huge shakeup to Ontario's liquor laws, some say the biggest since the end of  prohibition nearly 90 years ago. Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced that beer would now be for sale in hundreds of grocery stores across the province. Most people favor the decision."When it comes to the sale of beer in Ontario, I'm here to announce that the status quo is over and that the days of monopoly are done," said Wynne this week.

The only retail outlet for beer in Ontario is The Beer Store, which is jointly owned by the country's three largest breweries, all foreign-owned. Craft beers can sell only from their own breweries. Now, all beers will be available at 450 grocery stores across the province.

On the streets, there is mainly approval.

"I think it's a good idea. It will make it more convenient for some people that have to travel long distances," said one man.

Craft brewers are also happy about the move. They will get about 20 percent of the beer space in the grocery stores and will have improved placement, more shelf space and marketing.

The only ones still complaining are convenience store owners. The province isn't ready to go that far. But overall it's a tax grab for a province with a huge deficit. A new beer tax will raise about $100 million a year.

WBFO’s comprehensive news coverage extends into Southern Ontario and Dan Karpenchuk is the station’s voice from the north. The award-winning reporter covers binational issues, including economic trends, the environment, tourism and transportation.