Ops......Budwiser goes Belgian.....!! [General]

2008 Jul 14
I'm not very beer oriented but this is an important new. Probably the Americans are not happy but Budweiser is now owned by the Belgian giant Stella Artois. Another "Global" brand is on the market.


2008 Jul 14
Yeah, this has been reported for some time now that it was coming. InBev owns damned near everything else - why not Bud?

The real kick in the pants for Ontarians is that (even before this deal) our Beer Store is a provincially-granted monopoly owned almost entirely by foreign interests : InBev (Labatt), Coors (Molson), Saporo (Sleeman)

2008 Jul 14
It's a real kick in the pants.........
Is Labatt owned by InBev too?

2008 Jul 14
The Toronto Star had a series recently on the Beer Store. Most people interviewed thought it was a government owned operation like the LCBO (surprise!). There was also a feature on Ottawa Morning today on the CBC about Beau's and their difficulties in getting bottles back.

Part I

Part II

Part III

2008 Jul 14
Labatt has been owned by previous incarnations of InBev since 1974 or thereabouts.

2008 Jul 14
I was having audio problems on my PC this morning when Steve from Beaus was on the air. Can you summarise what he was saying? I wonder if they'll have that online for listening at a later date.

2008 Jul 14
I too am curious to hear what was said in this interview... I've heard a story about what is happening to the Beau's bottles thru the "rumour mill" (which I will withold for now). I hope that this interview ends up on line so I can hear it for myself... until then, I await someone's interpretation who heard it LIVE.

2008 Jul 14
Here's as much as I know about the Beau's story : www.bodensatz.com

2008 Jul 14
I did catch part of the interview but was busy doing other stuff at the same time, so I might have missed some details. They talked about the LCBO decree that they couldn't refund more than the 20 cents per bottle. The other part that I'm less clear on (divided attention, as I mentioned) was that I think they can't get their bottles back from the Beer Store either because they don't have an agreement with them (since they don't carry their beer). It sounded like the Beer Store recycles them but they are in a situation where they can't reuse them. The story doesn't seem to be on the CBC website but I'll hold my tongue regarding the Beer Store until I can get confirmation.

2008 Jul 14
Oh, that latter part is pretty crappy that they can't get them back! As my blog post above shows, the fact that they can only refund 20 cents is actually a very good thing for them. But not being able to get them back from the Beer Store is a load of crap!

2008 Jul 14
Beau's has offered to come and pick-up/even pay to get their ceramic bottles back from The Beer Store and The BS is saying no. And crushing is not recycling.
Here's the interview...

2008 Jul 14
Thanks for posting that link to clarify the details. Hopefully stories like this and the Toronto Star series will get people thinking how ludicrous it is to have a bunch of foreign multinationals running a monopoly retail outlet.

2008 Jul 14
Ok, I haven't had a chance to listen to the interview yet (for whatever reason, I can't get it to load)... but based on the posts in this topic so far, I want to respond. Here is my take. This info is based on conversations I've had with workers at both the Beer Store, and the LCBO. So I don`t want to say it is 100% factual, but rather lets say it comes out of the "rumour mill".

The problem has nothing to do with the costs in regards to deposits, it doesn't matter if it is 20 cents or 2 bucks... the fact is Beau's isn't getting their bottles back no matter.

Ontario Recylcing Guidelines now encourages the consumer to bring the bottles (and all other items sold at the LCBO with a deposit, such as PET, TetraPaks etc.) to the Beer Store for Recycling. In the case of PET, Tetrapaks etc. these items go into a regular recycling program (basically the same one as the Blue Box). The thought here was to encourage recycling, and so if you paid a deposit, it was believed that you'd return it for the refund, and hence more items would end up in Recycling than in the landfill. (Which statiscally has been proven to be true, and a good thing overall).

Since this program has been implemented, you have to pay 20 cents deposit on all 750 ml bottles bought at the Liquor Store, and are thereby only entitled to get back that same 20 cents when you bring the bottle back (be it to the Beer Store, or to the Ontario Brewery / Winery directly). Which is where Beau's got into trouble with the Powers That Be earlier this summer, as they were offering $ 2 refunds per bottle (which of course is probably somewhat more realistic in a cost per manufactured bottle for them than the token 20 cents... I wonder does the 20 cents even cover the cost of the swingtop).

The kicker in the story however is this:

The Beer Store evidently ONLY Returns to the Brewers bottles that Brewers Retail (aka the Beer Store) carries... because they have agreements with them. ALL OTHER BOTTLES (like Liquor Bottles, etc) are crushed. Clear and Coloured Glass is then sent onto recycling, again basically the same program that is / was the Blue Box. Ceramics (like Beau's bottles) are lost entirely. They are crushed and basically considered waste, because they evidently "contaminate" regular glass recycling. (As an aside, I find it hard to believe that there isn't a way to recycle ceramics.)

To date it is my understanding that Beau's have no plans to switch off of the ceramic bottles, they are afterall a large part of the appeal of their product. What they are doing is still encouraging people to return their bottles to the Brewery. In order to facilitate the cleaning / sterilizing process at the Brewery, it is best if the consumer rinses them after drinking the beer. To thank customers for their Brand Loyalty and coming out to visit the Brewery, Beau's has implemented a sort of Customer Loyalty program. It isn't clear if the program will be ongoing, or an interim idea that is being explored.

Of course none of this applies to the Beau's Growlers, because they are an item that is not carried by the LCBO, Beau's has earmarked a $ 4 deposit for them, and will refund the $ 4 at the Brewery. And of course the recoup on these bottles is almost 100%... they go beyond recycling, they are REFILLED.

Sadly, I'm hoping that this "struggle" doesn't mean that in the end Beau's is forced by the system to give up the ceramic bottle, IMO that is just another case of the Big Guy bullying the little guy. This also clearly shows how little support in this province there is for local wineries and breweries (don't even get me started in how the LCBO scalps Ontario Wineries on costs... they sell a bottle of wine for $ 15 and give the winery about $ 3).

Although I believe some regulation is good, it is time we got rid of the unfair programs meant to reward the BIG Companies, at the expense of local small businesses!

Which brings me full circle... this topic began by announcing the fact that another company (albeit a large one) has been eaten up by a LARGER Conglomerate... ah yes, world domination is upon us.

2008 Jul 14
When we Canadians get MAD.... we don't go running to get a gun ..... We write a letter !!

Here is a copy of an email I just sent off to Brewers Retail.


"I live in Ottawa.

I heard an interesting thing on the radio this morning.

It was a co-owner of Beau's All Natural Brewing Company (www.beaus.ca/) talking about the difficulty they are having in getting their bottles from Brewers Retail.

Here is a audio copy of the interview.


So ... Why all the hassle and red tape to get Beau's bottles back to them ?

They are even offering to pick up the bottles from the Ottawa stores themselves.

Crushing the ceramic bottles instead of reusing them. This policy sounds so lacking in 'Environmental Leadership'."


I'm prepared for the usual answers... you know .... like "That's our policy" or "Because we don't sell that product ...." or "We are looking into it" and so on.

I'll let The Ottawa Foodies know how they respond.


2008 Jul 14
All of this really stinks, and I mean ALL of this. I think I'm going to go cry in my beer now! Seriously though, the more I read about this the more I want to get back into making my own beer again...

2008 Jul 14
Chimichimi - Yup if I bully you hard enough you'll go away (or in the very least conform), or if you're doing well enough for me to worry about, I'll pay you off, bottle a beer in your name, and hope to make some money off of your back... I won't bother to tell the consumer it is the same as every other beer I make (afterall it's right out of the same vat) I'll just be happy enough to use your name.

2008 Jul 14
You think that's bad ... what about the huge legal battle Brick went through with their stubbies. The Beer Store took them to court for having "non-standard" bottles. The Beer Store - owned in part by Sleeman. Hmmmm. But Sleeman's bottles were somehow not "non standard". Right.


Fortunately Brick did win this one, but not without plowing a freaking pile of money into it. So it was still mission accomplished for the Beer Store.

Very serious conflict of interest, anyone?

2008 Jul 16
Here is the response to my email I sent to Brewers Retail concerning Beau's Beer Bottles (see entry above):

"- thanks for your email. The folks at Beau's Brewing have chosen
to distribute their beer in an expensive, unconventional container that
I understand they are now talking publicly about how to get back.

They were walked through the process for listing their product for sale
in The Beer Store, which also covered how their containers get handled.
Since they chose to only list in the LCBO, their containers are part of
the Ontario Deposit Return Program; we must collect those containers and
send them through the collection process to comply with government audit

Sara Taylor"

Well well well.... Just as I predicted, I got the "That's our policy" answer.

I was going to reply to Sara but I think it may be as productive as 'peeing into the wind'.

2008 Jul 16
"send them through the collection process"

I guess that's a euphemism for "smash them into tiny bits".

2008 Jul 16
Captain C - LOL that is a real winner eh?

I love the Quote:

"The folks at Beau's Brewing HAVE CHOSEN to distribute their beer in an EXPENSIVE, UNCONVENTIONAL CONTAINER that I understand they are now talking publicly about how to get back. They were walked thru the process for listing their product in THE BEER STORE, which also covered how their containers get handled. Since they chose to ONLY list IN the LCBO, their containers are part of the Ontario Deposit Return Program; we MUST COLLECT those containers and send them through the COLLECTION PROCESS to COMPLY with GOVERNMENT AUDIT PRACTICES."

HAVE CHOSEN - Yup there is still FREE THOUGHT in this country
EXPENSIVE - Only when you can't refill it and have to repurchase continually
THE BEER STORE - If you don't do it our way... See BULLY
MUST COLLECT - Who says they MUST... more thoughts in a moment

So let me get this right:

In this Wacky Province you have to buy your Beer at either the LCBO and only if you jump thru a lot of hoops (remember how Beau's had to meet a zillion crazy requirements)... And then if you choose one over the other (the Gov't one over the Conglomerate, then BIG BUSINESS gets upset).

Either way you get screwed.

So can anyone set up a Recycling Service? Do you have to take your returns to THE BEER STORE? Could say Beau's Buddies set up a recycling spot? Could there be an informal network?

God knows someone has to be able to a better job with this so called "Recycling" Program than the Ontario Government is pushing as a Green thing to do. SEE LAUGHABLE!

2008 Jul 16
That's a really good idea, for Beau's to set up a recycling depot in town. They could drive a truck into the parking lot of one of their pubs, once a week say, and we could bring them our empties. I'd be up for that. You should suggest that to them.

2008 Jul 17
Inkling - I betting that there is some LCBO Rule that says you can't do that... the system is so pathetic.

2008 Jul 18
There is no doubt that Ontario is the most bureaucratic province in this great country - just look to the left and right - Manitoba has the "cold beer vendor" - every hotel/motel has a semi attached to it selling beer. Quebec is the pride of the nation with every corner store selling whatever beer and wine you'd like to purchase. *Sigh*

2008 Jul 18
Why doesn't Beau's use standard bottles again? As much as I like the aesthetics of the ceramic bottles, they are expensive and I've stopped buying them.

2008 Jul 18
Because they feel there are more people who will buy it because of the pretty bottle, then those who won't buy it because of the expensive bottle.

I also won't buy it in it's current format. Well, not bottled. I have been known to buy a keg of it.

2008 Jul 18
Sourdough - I truly believe that part of the reason that Ontario is so far behind is because of the historical influence of the protestant churches. This province was a leader during prohibition, the "evils of drink" were ingrained into the people. Several of my relatives still believe this (methodist / presbyterian background), many of them are in their 70s and 80s, but they've had enough influence that there is a substantial representation in their 30s, 40s and 50s. I don't think my family is unusual, I truly think they are a cross-section of small town Ontario... these were the same "church going" people that were against things in my lifetime like: Sunday Shopping, Beer at Sporting Events, Women in Bars & Taverns, Booze without Food (Bars or Taverns), etc. They are the same people today that believe that NO DRINKING is always correct... Their current agenda is to keep the LCBO in place (LIQUOR CONTROL Board), raise the drinking age back up to 21, and pushing the court system to not only be against Drunk Drivers (at .08) but implement a zero-tolerance totally. They are a strong group and tend to be "conservative" and vote as a block both Provincially and Federally, and that is why their power is to be feared (both by us, and the Government of the day).

IMO it will a long time before things change...

As for the Provinces of Quebec and Manitoba these two in particular were more influenced by the Catholic Church, their populations had a falling-out with all things catholic back in the 60s and 70s, since then a lot of things changed in both their social / political structures.

EDIT - Here is some interesting reading on Prohibition in Canada, you can see how religion (and history) has effected our liquor laws today:


2008 Jul 18
Ah yes ... the 'politics' of distrbuting intoxicating beverages.

When I first came to Ontario in 1982, You had to fill out a form to get liquor at the LCBO. There was no products on display. Just the listings were posted and you took your form to a counter and they bagged it up before handing it to you.

There was no Sunday opening of LCBO or Beer Stores (called Brewers Retail at that time). You had to stock up on a Saturday or it was a trip to Hull and back.

And no late hours til 10pm.

I noticed that even in my home province of Nova Scotia (with even more Puritan liquor laws), they have come up with a few Drive Thru Liquor Stores. It blew me away when I first saw one in Halifax a number of years ago. I think they came out of the East Coast's new cultural institution ... The Tim Hortons (or Timmies for short).

Imagine ... A Drive Thru Liquor Store ..... "Welcome to The Liquor Store, can I take your order ?" and may fave line ... "Would you like cups and ice with that sir ?".

2008 Jul 18
Captain C - I think that a lot of Provincial Liquor Stores used to run that way... I remember the fill out the form counters in Quebec (a la Consumer's Distributing) in the 1970s. Liquor was like a big secret... I remember wanting to buy wine (LOL, always has been my alcohol of choice) and not having a clue on what to do... you had to know the name, size, and LCBO / SAQ # etc. They had a big book on the counter where you could look up what they carried... no wonder wine was such a mystery. And no wonder no one ever tried anything new... a name in a book told you absolutely nothing. I think a lot of the wine world in Canada changed when Niagara started making wine (albeit that crap from concord grapes, like Baby Duck, back in the 1970s)... at least the Consumer now could associate with a name they had heard of.

Ontario has a long way to go. I'm familiar with the Quebec Grocery Store distribution (also popular in some US States) but the downside is that they tend to carry lower quality stuff (wines & spirits), if you want the good stuff (like Crown Royal, or any wine that isn't Plonk) you still gotta go to a "liquor store". I'm ok with that, in fact I think that if we had Ontario Wine & Beer Stores (that featured Canadian products) we would be far ahead, then to me it wouldn't matter if we ever got corner store / grocery store distribution. I think it would do wonders for the Ontario Wineries and Breweries who are currently being ripped off by "The Powers That Be".

As for Drive Thrus, I've seen some of them in the USA... they kill me, oftentimes they are associated with a gas station, get your self serve gas up front, then drive thru the building (sort of like a carwash / portico), you open your trunk and they pack it up with whatever you've ordered... Beer, Booze, Ice, Pop, Junk Food, "A Party To Go". LOL

2008 Jul 20
I've finally gotten off my backside and sent a letter to my MPP, I've met him on many occasions since one of my life long friends used to be is executive assistant so I don't know if it will help getting my letter read; I hope to get a quick and smart response.