Industry / FAQs
Canada operates their liquor trade on a province by province level. Each province in Canada represents a separate government monopoly, and each province has different restrictions within their legislative jurisdictions. As such, when doing business in Canada, we are actually doing business with separate provincial liquor boards.
As liquor ambassadors, we strive to demystify the convoluted liquor systems of Canada. We will happily answer any question you have about the industry here, and when we don’t have the answer, we will go find it! Here are some of the common questions we get:
Q: I can’t find my favorite product anywhere in my liquor store, and I know it’s been there before – who do I talk to?
At the end of the day, the agent representing the product will have all the answers. If it is a product that your bar or liquor store normally carries and the purchaser doesn’t know why they can’t get it anymore, encourage them to talk to the sales representative for the product. They will be able to help get to the bottom of it!
Q: Why is it that my favorite liquor product is sold at such substantially different prices in each province?
Generally speaking, each province has different rules, regulations, mark-ups and tax structure that will change the retail price of any given item. So while an agent may be doing their best to sell that product at the same price everywhere, it may not be possible.
Q: What’s the government’s role on the retail side of things in the Canadian liquor business?
This varies from province to province. For example, in Ontario, the government stores are the only retailers of liquor. In Alberta, there are no government stores for retail. In British Columbia, there is a mix of both government and private stores.
Q: I’m familiar with a product that I know is not being represented in Canada, and I want it in my home bar or my back bar, darn it! What do I do?
Send us an e-mail! Get in contact with us! We strive to serve our community of imbibers, and if there is a product out there that you feel you want, and you are in Canada, we will do everything in our power to get it to you, even if it’s the most obscure thing in the world. Why? Because that’s what we do – we are here to get you what you really want to drink.
Q: I’m a manufacturer of alcohol outside of Canada. How can I sell my product in Canada?
The first thing you will need is an agent licensed to do business in Canada for representation. Officially speaking, it is only the respective provincial governments that are permitted to sell alcohol wholesale in Canada. In almost all instances, each province will only deal with an agent who has been commissioned to represent the product and its interests in Canada. That agent may do things such as initiate purchase orders, canvass sales or lead marketing campaigns on behalf of the product. Provincial liquor boards do not permit multiple representation of the same brand within its borders.