As we originally discussed in July, Beau’s was having serious challenges with The Beer Store and Beau’s unique swing-top bottles. Since Beau’s does not sell their beer in The Beer Store, they were refusing to give them back to Beau’s when customers return them.
Good news for Beau’s however. As Beau’s reported, as did CTV, Beau’s has created a unique program with Operation Go Home, a social enterprise for homeless and at-risk youth in Ottawa. Under the program called BottleWorks, customers are encouraged to bring back their swing-top bottles to Operation Go Home, with $0.40 of the deposit going to Operation Go Home, and the bottles returning to Beau’s for reuse.
Although this is a great program for both Beau’s and Operation Go Home, it is unfortunate that it has come to this at all. The Beer Store, being a private enterprise and virtual monopoly, is able to dictate the rules around beer bottle returns with no regulation or explanation. In the CTV article, Ottawa MPP Madeleine Meilleur was quoted saying that “BottleWorks is a project that works,” and that it is “innovative, it is collaborative, it is smart.” Let’s hope that Ms. Meilleur can continue to be a supporter of craft beer initiatives in government and recognizes the faults of The Beer Store in this instance.
In Ontario it is the passion of the brewers, bar owners and beer lovers that drives interest and innovation of beer in the province. The “system” only puts up roadblocks such as The Beer Store’s return policy. It’s the creativity of brewers such as Steve Beauchesne to make things work despite the challenges of doing business here. Well done Steve.