The Manitoba government has introduced amendments to the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act and the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation Act, which would allow liquor stores, wine stores and beer vendors to sell all types of liquor.
In a media release today, Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Andrew Smith, minister responsible for the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation said, "These changes allow for all liquor licence holders to sell various types of alcohol at their establishments, modernizing liquor sales in Manitoba and giving customers more choices. This is an important step forward to modernize the liquor retailing system. Private retailers already sell almost half of all liquor sold in the province. These changes would enable more innovation in the industry, helping businesses to grow with the ability to offer new products."
There are currently three types of liquor retail licences in Manitoba:
- liquor store licences, which include Manitoba Liquor Marts, duty free shops and rural liquor vendors;
- hotel beer vendors; and
- specialty wine stores.
The proposed amendments would require existing retailers to apply for a new agreement with Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries to allow for expanded sales.
Additionally, craft liquor manufacturers with retail endorsements on manufacturing licences would now be able to expand the liquor products permitted for retail sale at manufacturing locations. For example, a craft brewery that sells its products at its brewery location would now be able to sell other types of alcohol as well.
There are approximately 500 licensed liquor retailers in the province, the minister noted, adding that Manitoba has one of the most diverse liquor retailing systems in Canada including:
- hotel beer vendors;
- rural liquor vendors;
- specialty wine stores;
- retail manufacturer licence holders; and
- temporary retail locations like farmers markets.
"Liquor Marts have done an exceptional job at providing selection and service for Manitobans over the years," said Manny Atwal, president and CEO, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries. "As consumer tastes and demands change, it is important for our retail network to adapt. With an increase in interest for more new and innovative products and customers wanting to purchase products closer to home, these amendments would allow our Manitoba marketplace to evolve and better serve Manitobans."
The proposed changes would particularly affect rural Manitobans by improving access to different types of alcohol, the minister noted. Under the proposed amendments, liquor and wine would be available rurally at up to 173 more locations and cold beer at up to 176 more locations, nearly doubling the number of rural locations where these products are available.
There would also be up to 82 new locations selling all types of liquor in Winnipeg, and up to 10 new locations selling all types of liquor in Brandon.