Heineken comes to Brewers Retail

Heineken, one of the best-known brands of imported beer in the country, is now available in Ontario's Brewers Retail beer stores.Brewers Retail is the province's beer retailing near-monopoly and is owned by Molson Breweries, Labatt Breweries of Canada and Northern Breweries...

Heineken, one of the best-known brands of imported beer in the country, is now available in Ontario’s Brewers Retail beer stores.

Brewers Retail is the province’s beer retailing near-monopoly and is owned by Molson Breweries, Labatt Breweries of Canada and Northern Breweries of Sudbury, Ont.

Too soon to tell

Daryl Ralph, senior brand manager at Santa Fe Beverage Company, the import agent for Dutch-brewed Heineken, says it is too soon to say what distribution through the beer stores will do for the brand although he adds with wider distribution the ‘sales velocity’ of the beer will increase.

Until now Heineken has been sold in Liquor Control Board of Ontario outlets alongside other imported and some domestic brands.

There are 432 Brewers Retail stores in Ontario.

‘Great interest’

Bob Chant, import business manager for Labatt International Brands, says his company is looking at the Brewers Retail market with ‘great interest’ in the wake of the Santa Fe announcement.

Santa Fe is owned by Molson.

Chant would not say which of its brands Labatt International is considering for beer store distribution, but hinted they are in the premium category.

He says the first imported beer sold in beer stores in Ontario is Beck’s, a German brew imported by his company

Ontario’s beer market, still complex and highly regulated, has loosened up somewhat recently thanks to changes in Ontario law and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.