Support for local manufacturers
The LCBO’s Three-Year Strategic Plan (2013/14 – 2015/16) includes as one of its six objectives growing the sales of local Ontario products. We are wholly committed to working with local Ontario wine, craft beer and spirits producers to help them grow their businesses and, in turn, support the Ontario economy.
The LCBO has many programs that assist local producers, including marketing promotions and month-long thematics, prominent placement in stores, dedicated shelf and fridge space, Ontario product specialists in hundreds of LCBO stores, in-store tastings and more.
Ontario wine and VQA
Ontario wine sales at the LCBO continue to outpace the growth of imported wine. This is due in large part to the many initiatives and programs which have been introduced to showcase Ontario the province as a quality producer, including:
- Specially-trained WOW (World of Ontario Wine) Leaders at hundreds of LCBO stores to share product knowledge with customers and colleagues, and to promote Ontario wines, the VQA appellation system and wine tours.
- The placement of Ontario wines at the entrance of each store and displaying Ontario wines on higher-quality wood fixtures to set them apart from other regions;
- The Ontario Wines Superstar program, which dedicates shelf space and promotional material every month to two LCBO VQA wines and one VQA VINTAGES product;
- Promotions and thematic throughout the year which feature Ontario wines;
- Wines to Watch, a craft winery incubator program that gives the smallest Ontario wineries invaluable marketing support;
- Wineries-dedicated shelf space in 60 high-volume stores with LCBO marketing and promotional support;
- A bi-monthly “goLOCAL” promotion featuring four VQA wines in a prominent locations and supported by free-standing inserts;
- Ontario Wines Direct Delivery program which enables small VQA wineries to offer their products in as few as one store; and
- VQA Destination Boutiques, a new concept in wine retailing which provide a tremendous opportunity for smaller wineries to elevate the profile of their products, and for LCBO customers to learn about Ontario’s wine regions, appellations, varietals and styles and enjoy a unique Ontario wine shopping experience.
For more information, please read “LCBO Support for Ontario Wine” .
Ontario craft beer
LCBO is proud to support Ontario’s craft brewers. Since first being introduced to the market in 1984, locally brewed, small batch beer has steadily gained popularity and market share to become one of LCBO’s fastest-growing product categories.
Thanks to the many marketing programs implemented by LCBO to support sales of Ontario beer, sales have increased by 575 per cent in the past five years from about $4.5 million in sales in 2006-07 to net sales in 2012-13 of approximately $40 million. These programs include:
- More than 150 “Beer Ambassadors” located at select stores in our network share their passion and knowledge with staff and customers alike. They are specially-trained and highly knowledgeable about the craft beer industry, its practices, and beer varieties, and are there to help customers make informed buying decisions.
- Merchandising in a prominent position on shelf and grouping all formats of Ontario craft beer together, which differs from how other beer is merchandised;
- Product display programs, such as a dedicated shelf extender and end aisles to draw added attention to Ontario Craft Brewers products, and Ontario craft beer “display walls” in flagship stores;
- Special on-shelf displays showcasing Ontario’s smallest craft breweries on rotation, and seminars to assist craft breweries in conducting business with the LCBO; and
- The Local Fridge program which features the flagship brands of Ontario craft breweries in the refrigerated space of the LCBO in their community.
For more information, please read “LCBO Support for Ontario Craft Beer”.
Sales of locally distilled, small batch artisanal spirits represent a relatively small part of the spirits portfolio at LCBO. Nonetheless, we recognize their importance to our customers who are interested in ‘buying local’ and experiencing home-grown products. The LCBO is committed to continuing to grow the relationship with local artisanal spirits producers.
LCBO Spirits Category and local Ontario craft distillers have a positive working relationship. Our buyers are very aware of the emerging trend toward locally produced products, including craft spirits, and are very receptive to providing these products for our customers.
LCBO began carrying products from Ontario craft distillers in 2012 and currently we offer six such items, which are understandably available in limited supply.
While net sales of Ontario produced craft spirits represent a very small part of our spirits business, we have seen encouraging sales results and increasing customer interest in these small-batch products. While still in its infancy, we look forward to helping grow this segment.
LCBO spirits buyers often work with craft distillers before they even start their business to discuss the process for getting their product to market. We explain federal and provincial regulations and guidelines, taxation issues, the licensing process, etc. We also provide continuous feedback to craft distillers on product quality and packaging. Once a product is released, we work with the manufacturer on marketing strategies that include where the product will be placed in stores.