If you live in Ontario, a looming LCBO strike could put a damper on your Victoria Day entertaining plans.
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario, the provincially owned Crown corporation, has warned customers to stock up on their supplies early to avoid possible service disruptions at the start of the long weekend.
“We do have a contingency plan in the event of a strike and that plan is to deliver some level of service to the people of Ontario,” Heather MacGregor, media relations coordinator for LCBO, told The Huffington Post Canada. “Exactly what that plan looks like, and how it will be rolled out and when it will be rolled out” cannot yet be disclosed, she said. MacGregor couldn't say which branches would stay open.
If LCBO employees walk off the job, it will be the first strike in the provincial agency's 87-year-history, the Toronto Star notes.
LCBO shops are generally the only stores in Ontario allowed to sell liquor, but there are some other ways you can stock up on beer, wine and even spirits for the long weekend. As an added bonus, many of them will be open on the holiday Monday, May 20.
Besides The Beer Store, you can buy beer from one of Ontario's craft brewers. There are big names like Amsterdam and Steam Whistle, which we list below, but there are hidden gems all across Ontario. Check out the Ontario Craft Brewers' map for one near you.
Ontario is also blessed with many great wineries. If you live near wine regions like Prince Edward County or Niagara why don't you check out some of the wineries in the area. Prince Edward County's tourism site lists some of the region's wineries (and cideries!). Niagara region is home to familiar names like Inniskillin and Henry of Pelham. Check out Wine County Ontario if you're thinking of touring some of them.
LOOK — Where to buy wine, beer and spirits in case of an LCBO strike:
The Beer Store: Canada is a beer nation, so it's a relief that those symbolic 2-4's will still be available for Victoria Day. The Beer Store duly obliges in offering customers over 350 types of beer, and some select locations will have extended hours on Sunday. (Check your local store for details.)
Wine Shop: Several branches of the Vineyard Estates have now converted their name under the banner of the Wine Shop., and some locations will be open through Monday, so check the stores near you.
Dial-A-Bottle: Dial-A-Bottle delivers everything from beer to liquor to cigarettes and pop to people’s doorsteps in various locations across Southern Ontario, but LCBO spokeswoman Heather MacGregor said those service providers will have to go through the same process in the same way other customers will. “What that looks like, what type of product is available, what types of lines they’ll encounter will be the same for them as it will be for everyone else,” she said.
Wine Rack: With more than 160 stores mainly in Southern Ontario and other outlets located in North Bay, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, the Wine Rack announced that it would remain open leading up to and during the labour strike. Thirty Wine Rack locations will be open on Monday in tourism designated locations across the province.
Steam Whistle: While the Steam Whistle brewery is located in the heart of the downtown Toronto, customers from Hamilton to Oshawa, and as far north as Aurora and Whitchurch-Stouffville can get home delivery of bottles, cans, and draught kegs made all week long. The Toronto brewery remains open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, while closing at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Free complimentary beers are still available through the weekend and on Monday when the brewery is open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. with tours offered every half hour.
Mill St. Brewery: Mill St. Brewery underwent an expansion of its Toronto Distillery district location earlier this year and added The Beer Hall. Customers can go to its retail store at the same location this weekend, open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday. The Brew Pub remains open until late for those looking to come back for more later on in the night. The Brew Pub also has an Ottawa location, which is also open through Monday.
Taps Brewing Company: Situated near the U.S. border, the Taps Brewing Company in Niagara Falls brews on site and offers a variety of natural beers starting at only $4.65 a pint. They are open throughout Victoria Day weekend, from 12 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, and from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Monday.
Old Credit Brewing Co: The Old Credit Brewing Co. Ltd in Mississauga crafts three distinct beers — Amber Ale, Pale Pilsner and Holiday Honey — in small batches and is open on Sunday and Monday from 12 pm. to 5 p.m. On Tuesdays to Saturdays, the brewery at 6 Queen St. West is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Amsterdam Brewery: Amsterdam Brewery was recently presented with six trophies, including the Gold award, and Beer of the Year for its Spring Bock brew, at the 10th Annual Ontario Brewing Awards. Its retail operations will remain open over the course of the weekend, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday.
Clocktower Brewhouse: The Clocktower Brewhouse consists of a main brewery and four restaurants around Ottawa that are all open over the weekend holiday, from 10:00 a.m. to 2 a.m. on the weekend and 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. throughout the week and on Victoria Day. However, a spokesman says that the hours could extend later.
Walkerville Brewery: Another brewery located on the U.S. border — this one with Detroit — the Walkerville Brewery’s retail outlets in Windsor are open from Thursdays to Saturday from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. On Sundays, they will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The brewers are legally allowed to open from 9 a.m. and operate until 11 p.m. because they are located in a tourism-heavy district, but they have yet to decide whether to open on Victoria Day.