18 April 2016

Considering the Canadian Beverage Market?

By Hector Saulnier | hector@bevproconsulting.com

If you are considering selling beverage alcohol products in Canada ($20.5 Billion) market for the first time what do you need to know.  Well to tell the truth “alot”. First it is not one Canadian market it is a number of sub- markets all similar but very different. Each Jurisdiction has pricing, technical, administrative, and commercial rules that take time and effort to understand. 

To understand the Canadian markets it helps to look back to the repeal of Prohibition.  This is when the liquor laws were established to control the importation, distribution and sale of beverage alcohol.

Today, each province/territory has established a Liquor agency that oversees the distribution and sale of beer, coolers, cider, wine and spirits.  Each jurisdiction the agency provides the service (rules) that meets both their social and financial objectives.

In Quebec, you can buy beer and wine (bottled in Quebec) in corner stores and grocery stores, whereas in Ontario most beer is sold at “the Beer Store” and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.  Alberta, offers a private retailer market, British Columbia is a mixed market, and New Brunswick, P.E.I., Nova Scotia are government-only markets – sort of with agency stores working in their retail networks.

Today in each jurisdiction the beverage alcohol channels are different but have evolved as sizable beverage alcohol retailers (like Total Wine or More, Bevmo, ABC, etc) running the businesses on performance metrics focused on Customers.  

Consumers have become increasingly savvy and Canadian beverage alcohol retailers have become increasely aware that they need to become increasingly knowledgeable about how to understand their customers and how best to engage with them.

Like all retailers, Liquor retailers compete for a share of the customer’s disposable income.  As a result, any change in disposable income has a direct impact on sales performance.  In today’s environment, it is more important than ever to understand the customer and find ways to add value.

As a supplier/agent looking to bring your product into Canadian markets it is critical to understand the liquor retailer’s goals.  Learn who they are, what they need and how you can help – question is who are they?  -The Liquor retailer? Or the Liquor Retailers customer?  What do you know about them? How will you learn?  How long will it take you?  Do you need a guide?

Now here is the sales pitch – this is the BevPro difference we are not a sales agency – we once were “them” the liquor retailer buyer and marketer.  As beverage alcohol buyers and marketers that worked for Liquor boards across the country we have a unique understanding of the customers in each market and the goals of the liquor retailers in those markets.

We can guide you, reducing the learning curve about the customers in each market and how best to position your products and better find the ones they’re looking for.    We develop a guide navigating the various laws and regulations surrounding things like listings, promotions, labeling, and selling beverage alcohol in the specific market.  We speak the retailers language, understand their goals and can help you understand how to add value.

Hope this is helpful.  I know we can be. 
Call me at 1 (416) 214-7743 or send me an e-mail at hector@bevproconsulting.com

Our Experience is your Advantage.

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