(Photo: Todd Brown, owner of Brown’s Independent, in front of the new beer display. Photo by Barry Gray.)
A sign went up on the outside of Brown’s Independent Grocer Monday night: “Beer Here!”
They’re among the first grocery stores in the province to sell beer in-store. Sales started Tuesday morning at 9am after weeks of behind-the-scenes preparation by store staff.
Owner Todd Brown told StittsvilleCentral.ca last week that he was encouraged by the selection of beer that would be on sale, and the convenience the service would provide for customers.
For now, you’ll be able to buy six-packs of beer including a mix of local and larger breweries (see below). Prices will be the same as at the LCBO.
Many of the staff at the store who are over 18 years of age have done Smart Serve training to prepare. That means you’ll only be able to buy your beer at designated check-out lanes.
Hours of sale will be restricted too: 9am-11pm Mondays-Saturdays, and 11am-6pm Sundays. The beer section is covered by a canopy with curtains that will hide the display outside of the legal hours.
Store manager Jeff Mitchell sent along some info about what beers they’ll be selling initially.
“We are mandated by the provincial government to provide craft brewers with at least 20% of our shelf space. As a store (and even Loblaws as a whole) we didn’t feel that was sufficient enough, considering the amazing craft brewers in the city and province. That said, we are hoping to provide at least 50% of our shelf space to craft brewers. To launch the program, we are dealing with a somewhat limited selection, but that will expand over time,” says Mitchell.
The initial line-up of craft beer includes:
- Beaus – Lugtread, Tom Green Beer, Nordic Pale Ale
- Amsterdam – Boneshaker
- Steamwhistle Pilsner
- Flying Monkeys – Hoptical Illusion
- Nickelbrook – Headstock IPA
- Muskoka – Mad Tom and Detour (arriving next week)
- Side Launch Wheat Beer
- Great Lakes Brewery – Pompous Ass and Canuck Pale Ale
- Conductors Craft Ale
- Collective Arts Brewing Rhyme and Reason
- Double Trouble Hops and Robbers
- Lake of Bays Spark House
Mitchell says they’ll be announcing a couple of Ottawa-based brewers within the next week or so.
“Because the program was launched so quickly (we only found out about 10 days ago) the appropriate buying agreement between Loblaw, the LCBO and the craft brewers has yet to be arranged. That is why we are starting with the top selling items from the LCBO’s inventory,” he says.
Domestic beers will include:
- Coors Light
- Molson Canadian
- Labatt Blue
- Mill Street Organic and 100th Meridian (not considered “craft” since their purchase by Anheuser-Busch InBev)
Imports will include:
- Stella Artois