Earlier this week the LCBO announced the launch of an online store where orders can be made for delivery to your home for a fee of $12 or for free to any LCBO store. There’s a minimum order cost of $50 for shipping but otherwise it’s all fair game.
How is this going to affect craft breweries, or more specifically craft beer drinkers? There probably won’t be a huge change for the moderate fan of craft beers, the person who is looking to sample just a few things and ease into the field. Even the most expensive individual beers don’t often cross the $5 line and it’s hard to believe that you’ll just pick up 10 of those for a lark.
However for people more into the space, people who are professionally connected to craft beer or extremely interested this is a bit of a lucky break. The site will host some 800 products that are exclusive to the site, so not available in any LCBO store. Of course we don’t know what those are but it’s not inconceivable that it could be some beer. Online shopping will also make it easier for people to try things from new breweries, without being restricted by what the local shop has available.
The relatively high cost, $50 on booze at once still seems pretty high to me, will make it more difficult for some to take full advantage of this new system. This high cost would make it less appealing for people to explore beers from outside their geographic region. Of course the LCBO doesn’t exist to solely sell beer and it’s much easier to imagine spending $50 on wine or spirits.
It would be interesting to see if an internal program could be launched to spread craft beers around to different locations. Maybe in the form of a visiting section of a fridge or store. This could promote the hard work of brewers everywhere without the high cost of delivery.
This is another excellent step towards making alcoholic products more widely available throughout the province, and a trend that I would like to see continue.