A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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Paul Garrard -

Multinational brewers will always win out. If the government wasn't helping them they'd still force out the smaller boys as best they could with their sheer marketing muscle. The 'alternative' market is always more interesting to the likes of you and I than the mainstream me thinks.

Grant -

I agree with the fact that it is much too hard for craft brewers to get their beers in to the stores due to the cost but I don't think that deregulation is a good idea. The Beer Store and the LCBO really do a good job of keeping beer and alcohol out of the hands of minors. Keeping the responsibility out of the hands of corner store owners who couldn't care less about how old the buyer may be is a good idea. I already see too many underage kids smoking while walking past high schools and even elementary schools at lunch time. Perhaps the government could sanction the Beer Store and the LCBO to lower the cost of shelf space for local craft breweries?

The Beer Nut -

If you have laws that work there's no reason that deregulating the sale of alcohol would lead to a surge in underage drinking. I think the benefits to the consumer of a free market outweigh the risks associated with the new system being abused.

I support the campaign wholeheartedly and wish it success. But I do think that any cause is instantly cheapened by having an online petition.

Meter -

Grant...those kids probably aren't smoking cigarettes, it's easier for them to buy weed. And as for private companies not being responsible...ever eat at a restaurant, or bar, or hotel? They all sell booze, and they are all private...all 20,000 of them. if you are worried about underage drinking, just make Id checks mandatory for any age.

Grant -

@Meter: Marijuana and restaurants weren't part of my point. The kids I see aren't smoking weed outside their high schools it's cigarettes that they're smoking. I assume if the system is deregulated there will be mandatory ID checks but just how many of the stores that are already selling cigarettes illegally to minors are going to listen to the laws?

I'm slightly on the fence about the issue in whole. I would really like the benefit of not having to march to the Beer Store or LCBO three blocks away but I believe that the ability to access beer much more easily by minors could pose a problem. BUT deregulation in a whole could fuel our craft brewers that we all love so much. I'm fairly torn.

Cass -

An idea I've had brewing for a while has finally come to fruition with this latest buzz about changing the Ontario retail system.

Sorry to plug my own stuff, but it's relevant to the conversation - please check out www.freeourbeer.org.

Alan -

Plug away baby!

Chris Storey -

It is simple. Stop going to the Beer Store. Period. Make your own or go to U-brew stores. Let them know why you will no longer be shopping there. Remember the old footage of "Soviet Bread Lines?" That is what the people of Ontario put up with every time they buy beer. Go to Quebec or the States. They do it right. The people at the beer store are rude, snobbish and don't care about the customer. Why would they? They have a monopoly.


Kevin James -

I can't believe people still spout the drivel of keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors. Work for the beer store or lcbo Grant? Been across all provinces and most all states and don't see a difference in under age drinking depending on who gets to sell the product. Grew up in Ontario and had no problem aquiring either hard liqour or beer before I was 19.
Haven't been to the "beer store" in a while. At least the lcbo doesn't charge brewers to be there, just takes a while to getthrough the system.

The Punished -

@Grant; That argument about "The Beer Store and the LCBO really do a good job of keeping beer and alcohol out of the hands of minors." really bothers me. It's insulting that you think private distributors wouldn't enforce the same principles, or would consider choosing not to just to make an an extra buck. I really think the majority of people who would get into that game would do so responsibly.

I remember being 16 and having a fake ID that said I was from Quebec. It was the worst possible looking ID, I looked young for even 16 and I spoke no French. That ID consistently worked at the LCBO yet barely at any convenience stores for cigarettes.

The issue here is that The Beer Store has a strangle hold on the Ontario market. Because of this micro and craft brewers will suffer. Along with them, consumers like myself, albeit a minority, will also suffer from lack of choice, service and quality.

Cheers to all of you who are establishing a web presence and bringing attention to this fascist control of liquor, wine and beer in our beautiful province of Ontario.

graduated underaged drinker -

With respect to under aged drinking. Neither the present nor proposed system affect under aged drinkers obtaining beer from friends or family who are of legal age.

ruserious -

Just to let you all know on Dec. 9th, 2008 our Ontario Liberal government responded unfavourably to the end the Beer Store Monopoly petition.

Despite this bad news I want to personally thank Derek Forward (the originator of the petition), for his tremendous effort in making it this far. For those of you that don’t know this already, Derek does not do things like this for a living. He’s another Ontario taxpayer just like you and I who set aside a tremendous amount of time to stand in front of Beer Stores collecting over 10,000 signatures, meeting with reporters, organizing Internet campaigns, and doing everything he could to capture the public’s attention.

But most importantly, Derek managed to capture the attention of Ted Chudleigh (MPP – Halton, PC Party) who read the petition (P-146) in parliament 11 times. Following the reading of the petition in parliament Derek then met with Jamie Rilett (Stakeholder Relations / Office of the Premier), for over an hour. After that, he went on to meet with Ms. Gina Lee - Communications Advisor to Dwight Duncan (Finance Minister). Quite unfortunately, despite all the readings of the petition in parliament neither of them were aware that the petition did not ask for an elimination of the Beer Store, just opening up the market to competition. As smart as both of these individuals were, they certainly appear to be operating in a bubble around Queen’s Park. He then further went on to meet with Mario Sergio (Liberal MPP - York West). The focus of each conversation that Derek had was that the Liberal government needs to consider the Consumer element, who spends over $2.5 billion dollars at the Beer Store annually, represented by 10,000 signatures looking for change, and that you should at least consider a dialog with the customer stakeholder

Despite all of this effort however, and over 11 days later than expected, the McGuinty Government dismissively responded to the petition with an answer of “The Beer Store is a great system – there is no need to change it - and no need for further discussion.”

Quite clearly, whatever the Liberals agenda is, they do not even want think about the consumer nor consider that a foreign owned monopoly taking $2.5 billion of our money annually could in any way be something that needs to be fixed.

As for what to do next, from what I hear Derek and Ted Chudleigh are putting together a response saying that the Liberal’s response does not dignify 10,000 signatures.

For my part, I’m just trying to thank Derek and Ted for their hard work so far and ensure that everyone knows exactly what the Liberals response was. Please help me spread the message across the province, tell those who don’t know yet that the Beer Store is a foreign owned monopoly kept empowered by the Province of Ontario. And if you also want to tell the premier exactly what you think about this feel free to contact him yourself:

- Call Premier McGuinty - Tel: 416-325-1941 - Fax: 416-325-3745
- eMail Premier McGuinty - https://www.premier.gov.on.ca/feedback/feedback.asp
- Mail Premier McGuinty - Honorable Dalton McGuinty, Room 281, Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park - Toronto, ON M7A 1A4

Marnie Bell -

I think beer should be sold in drug stores and grocery stores as it is in NY state. I have a friend who lives two blocks from a grocery store and a drug store here in Ontario, but to get a six pack of beer has to take a taxi which would be $15.00 plus tip return to get to the closest beer store, or take the city bus which would be $5.00 return, and take 2 hours there and back, if alcohol is even allowed on public transit--just to get a six pack on a hot summer day.