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Beer Importing – The Order Paperwork

May 10th, 2009 · 3 Comments

The way a private order works conceptually is simple.  There’s a certain number of cases of beer to sell, so consumers are found who are willing to buy the cases until the set number is hit.  In an attempt to simplify how consumers can participate in private orders, I created a web site whereby consumers could enter their personal information in a form, choosing the beer they wanted for themselves.  This would make the initial steps to joining the order easier, as agents such as Roland + Russell accepted private order requests via e-mail.

After launching the news about the import business and the order site, the Garrison order sold out very quickly – in about 3 and a half days.  But then came the paperwork.

The LCBO has a specific order form that must be completed for a private order.  Since this private order had multiple buyers, the form had to be completed for every individual buyer.  On the form had all the details about Garrison, the buyer’s personal details, the beer order (brand, alcohol percentage, case size and price quote), and the deposit estimate.  For a private order to be processed, 25% of the estimated retail value of the beer must be paid up front.

I generated these order forms for each buyer, but they could not be submitted just yet.  I had to collect everyone’s credit card details (for the deposit), get a signature for the order and get another signature for the lab testing waiver.

For anyone who is familiar with the LCBO, they will know that the LCBO tests products that they sell.  A good idea in theory, but has led to some unfortunate cases.  What is also unfortunate is that the LCBO charges for testing, and that charge is passed along to the agent and brewery.  The testing is in the area of $150 per brand, so you can imagine that for a small order this cost would have an impact on the end price.  However, the lab waiver only applies if the products are for general sale or bars/restaurants (if there is more than 5 cases of any particular brand, that is).

Since this private order was not going to LCBO stores nor bars or restaurants, the buyers in this order were permitted to request the lab waiver, which basically releases the LCBO if the products cause any “damages suffered”.

As you can imagine, it is a fairly arduous task in putting all this together.  I needed to get the order forms out to the buyers, have everyone complete the required information and get them back to me.  But that wasn’t it.  Garrison had to complete a banking application  (fairly standard) and also provide a letter stating that they had the product to meet the requirements of the order.  Also required was my AGCO license, plus the letter stating my appointment as Garrison’s agent.  Finally I also wrote a cover letter formally requesting the order, with the brands, case quantities, alcohol percentages and country of origin of the products.

All told, to complete the necessary paperwork to submit a single private order to the LCBO required a 104 page document.  Now things would get interesting, as this formally begun my relationship with the LCBO.

Beer Importing is an ongoing series documenting the process of importing beer through the LCBO.  This particular series documents a private order of Garrison beers from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Tags: Importing

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ruserious // May 12, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Unbelievable…. Just Wow. What you need to go through to sell a beer to someone in Ontario…. Thanks LCBO!

    You should add “can practice Buddhist-level patience” to the soft skills list on your resume.

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