The Liquor Control Board of Ontario launched online sales Tuesday with a website that lets people buy from nearly 5,000 products and have them delivered to their home or a local liquor store.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the creation of LCBO shows the government-owned liquor agency's commitment to evolve and modernize, and will provide greater convenience for consumers.
"The virtual shelf space now available to small wineries and breweries is fantastic," said Sousa.
"Consumers who may not have their favourite product at their local store will now have 5,000 products available right at their fingertips, and they'll be able to find what they need with the click of a mouse."
There is a $50 minimum for any purchases through LCBO and purchases could be delivered to a neighbourhood LCBO store for free, or to a customer's home through Canada Post for a $12 fee plus tax. Postal workers will have to ask for identification or return the liquor to the postal depot for customer pickup.
The online sales site will be a huge boost to Ontario wineries, breweries and cider producers, predicted LCBO president and CEO George Soleas.
The LCBO site will also be good for suppliers of alcoholic beverages from around the world who are not well represented in LCBO stores because they don't meet the production quotas needed to be listed by the liquor agency."There are no more quotas for these products as long as they're willing to participate in e-commerce," said Soleas.
The LCBO said 800 of the products available online will be exclusive to LCBO and will not be available in any of its 655 retail outlets.
The online portal already lists more products than are carried in any LCBO store, added Soleas, who said the agency's flagship retail outlet in Toronto carries about 3,400 products while the large Summerhill store in Toronto carries about 4,000.
The agency said LCBO.com could eventually list up to 16,000 products for sale. The LCBO reported record sales of $5.6 billion in 2015-16, up 6.8 per cent over the previous year, and paid a dividend of $1.9 billion to the government, an increase of $130 million.