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The Beer Store: Everything you need to know

You’ve got questions about shopping our 800+ brands? We’ve got answers. Here’s what you need to know about The Beer Store

Q. What is The Beer Store’s Bottle Return and Recycling program?

A. We’re proud of our world-class Ontario Deposit Return Program, and you should be too: Together, we have the most successful waste diversion program in Ontario — if not North America — with 166 billion (that’s with a “b”) beer containers returned since we’ve been in business. And since 2007, in addition to beer cans and bottles, we’ve taken back and refunded deposits on all wine, spirit and cooler containers sold in Ontario as well. In fact, the four billionth liquor container was returned to The Beer Store in October 2019 under the Bag It Back program. That’s a lot of containers — and cash back in your pocket!

Here’s a quick breakdown of what you’ll get back:

  • 10 cent deposit:

    Containers less than or equal to 630 mL (e.g., a standard beer bottle)

    Cans less than or equal to 1 L (e.g., a standard beer can)

  • 20 cent deposit:

    Containers more than 630 mL

    Cans more than 1 L

We’ll also take plastic rings, wine bladders, ceramic jugs and Tetra Paks. Crushed cans? We love ‘em! And don’t forget aluminum tabs and bottle caps — just put them in separate bags and toss them in with your returns. See this visual guide for more tips on sorting and counting (which means a faster payout).

Pro tip: Bottle drives are an easy way to make extra cash for charities or sports leagues. Call ahead to your local store so we know you’re coming, and we can cash you out in minutes.

Q. Where can I find out about sales at The Beer Store?

A. Who doesn’t love a good sale? That’s why we have a dedicated catalogue page just for beers at discounted prices. Browse the latest offers by brewers from all over the world, and remember to double-check that what you want is available at your local store to avoid disappointment. Or, better yet, pop in to your local store to take advantage of the latest discounts.

Q. What are The Beer Store’s prices?

A. The Beer Store is the only place in Ontario you can get the iconic 2-4 (a pack of 24 cans or bottles), which means more savings for you — when you buy a 2-4, you can save an average of $9. Same goes for cans: The more you buy, the more you save. For specific pricing, we recommend you explore our beers online or check in with your local store to see what’s on offer.

Q. What are The Beer Store’s hours?

A. Regular hours at The Beer Store vary slightly by location, but you can expect us to be open seven days a week. Some busy locations open a little earlier and close a little later; just check your local store to confirm.

All stores are closed Christmas Day (December 25) and New Year’s Day (January 1). On other holidays, double-check which places are open by using our store locator page to discover what’s close to you, and then click on “store details” to find opening and closing times.

Pro tip: Keep bottle returns until after a holiday weekend to avoid a long lineup.

Q. Where are The Beer Store locations?

A. From Red Lake in the north to Leamington in the south, we have more than 440 stores across Ontario to serve you. Find your nearest retail store with our handy store locator page — chances are, you’ll have a few to choose from!

Q. What kind of beer can I find at The Beer Store?

A. We carry 800+ beers from all around the world, so you’ll find whatever you’re craving with us. We’re always well-stocked with popular brands Canadians have known and loved for generations, as well as new offerings, and you can browse our selection online by category, style and more. We also support the local Ontario scene, offering a huge selection of craft beers made by talented brewers throughout the province. And from Austria to New Zealand, we import beer from more than 200 brewers from across the globe. Whether you’re craving the classics, imports or local crafts, we’ll have something you’ll love, including great-tasting non-alcoholic and gluten-free options, too. C’mon over, there are 800+ brands to discover in-store!

Q. Does The Beer Store sell kegs?

A. We sure do! We have more than 160 brands available in kegs for all your party needs. Selection varies by store, so check with your local Beer Store location to find out what’s available in your area. We also deliver to licensed establishments, or you can pick up from your nearest Distribution Centre (in Brampton, London, Ottawa, Whitby, Stoney Creek and Sudbury), as well as our Bathurst and Dupont store in Toronto. Visit our information page for details on ordering and delivery. Hosting a party outside your home? Be sure to apply for a Special Occasion Permit and review your responsibilities as the host.

Q. Who owns The Beer Store?

A. A coalition of Ontario-based brewers got together and opened our doors in 1927. Today, The Beer Store is owned by 30 brewers from across the province and remains open to all Ontario brewers — large and small — who qualify to become shareholders.

Q. Can I buy beer online?

A. Yes! With a few clicks, your order can be ready and waiting for quick pickup at a participating store. Just select your location, choose your brews and complete checkout, and your order will be ready when you are. We also offer home delivery in some communities — check online to see if you’re in the delivery zone.

Q. Where can I go to get support?

A. If you have a complaint, your local store manager can resolve most issues on the spot. If a resolution is not met, or you’d like to speak to a customer service agent about our stores, website or product availability, here’s how to get in touch:

If our customer service agents can’t resolve your complaint, they will pass it on to the appropriate district manager. Either they or the store manager you originally spoke to will contact you to resolve the problem. If further escalation is needed, they will refer your issue to the general manager, vice-president or even the president of The Beer Store, who will personally review your complaint.

After these steps are taken, if the matter is still not resolved, you can send your written complaint to our designated Beer Ombudsman, who will review your case and advise you on next steps. Here’s how to get in touch:

  • Email: ombudsman@thebeerstore.ca
  • Or by regular mail:
    Beer Ombudsman
    Brewers Retail Inc.
    5900 Explorer Drive
    Mississauga, ON
    L4W 5L2

Q. What’s the history of The Beer Store?

A. When Ontario lifted its prohibition on alcohol in 1927, The Beer Store was born as a co-operative of the province’s brewers. Back then, you had to be 21 years of age to purchase beer and carry a special individual liquor permit to do so. Over the years, the legal age to purchase beer was lowered and the special permits dropped altogether, while the number of retail stores has steadily increased to 440 locations across the province.

Q. How many employees does The Beer Store have?

A. Between our retail stores, our distribution centres and our corporate office, The Beer Store employs over 6,500 people within Ontario as of 2018.

Q. What is The Beer Store’s commitment to social responsibility?

A. We will not sell beer to anyone underage or intoxicated, period. Our “We ID 25” program trains staff to ask customers for a valid ID if they look to be 25 years old or under, even though the legal age to purchase beer in Ontario is 19. We also train staff on how to identify fraudulent ID and encourage no sale if they aren’t absolutely sure the customer is at least 19. (And no, the customer can’t send in a friend.) In addition, a strict no-sale rule applies to anyone who appears intoxicated. In 2019 alone, we challenged or refused service to more than 2.5 million individuals at our retail locations.

Q. Does The Beer Store offer beer delivery?

A. Yes, we’ll bring beer to your door! First things first: You’ll need a valid ID to accept the beer order. Any of these will work, providing they’re not expired: your passport, driver’s licence, BYID card, health card with photo, or military- or government-issued card with date of birth and photo. As part of our commitment to social responsibility, our drivers have the right to refuse service to anyone under the age of 19 and to those who appear intoxicated.

Got your ID sorted? Great! Our delivery service is just a click away at select stores for the Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo and Greater Toronto areas. Plus, we’re adding more Ontario communities all the time, so be sure to check our service area availability regularly. A reminder — the person who placed the order online has to answer the door with their credit or debit card and ID in hand. We can’t leave beer on your doorstep or deliver to someone else (sorry!).

Q. Exactly how famous is The Beer Store?

A. The Beer Store played a cameo role in the iconic 1983 Canadian film Strange Brew and was featured in a 2004 episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien as he toured around Toronto.