The Beer Store and its claim to be “The Ultimate Source for Beer in Ontario” is one of the most ridiculous statements imaginable. Refuting this claim is not a difficult task, but it is a lengthy one. Hence, this post is entitled “Part One”, and will be an ongoing series looking at The Beer Store and how they are one of the primary reasons that our beer retail system lives in the dark ages.
One of my many pet peeves with beer retailing in Ontario is the almost complete lack of beer-related merchandise sales. Individual microbreweries in Ontario do a good job of selling extra goodies – glassware, signs, openers, coasters, etc. But try to find your favourite foreign brewer’s branded glass and you will be out of luck. With the exception of the LCBO’s gift packs during the holiday season, it is virtually impossible to find merchandise from brewers, especially at “The Ultimate Source for Beer”.
The Beer Store has a section of their web site dedicated to “Beer Gear”. Keep in mind no sales are through their site, just listing what you could get in store, pending availability (there are no stock listings either).
Under the Glassware section, there are precisely two branded glasses available for purchase: pint glasses branded Molson Canadian or Budweiser. That’s it. You can get them with coasters, a bucket or just by themselves. This is what represents the glassware offerings from “The Ultimate Source for Beer”.
Suffice it to say, this is completely pathetic. Glassware is one of the many important facets to enjoying beer. Anyone who has been to Belgium will understand how important the glass is to a beer experience. Not only does branded merchandise such as glasses provide a nice collectible for beer lovers, it provides revenue to small brewers to help their business. But in Ontario, our beer retail system holds back even this. It’s not just our beer that needs to be freed. Glasses, too.