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Ontario gets 60-minute booze delivery

With food delivery becoming a routine dining ritual, Canadian province Ontario just made eating at home more of a party. 

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) has joined forces with Foodora, an international food delivery app, to pilot on-demand alcohol delivery in under an hour. The program was first tested in Ottawa. 

The menu can be accessed via LCBO’s website or the Foodora app, and on it you’ll find craft beer, cider, wine, spirits, and premade drinks. 

As expected, LCBO has some regulatory mandates in place. The driver must check for valid IDs. If the customer appears intoxicated or is enabling an intoxicated or underage drinker, the order will be canceled and the customer will be charged $20. 

“Foodora understands the increasingly mobile and connected way that Torontonians live, work, play and eat, and we are committed to providing high-quality service, convenience and thoughtful options for every day,” said David Albert, managing director of Foodora Canada, in a statement. 

Ontario has the largest population of any Canadian province. Foodora moved into Toronto in 2015 and eventually made a presence in 10 Canadian cities. The LCBO has a near monopoly over the province’s alcohol market — as a wholesale distributor and retailer.

In July, LCBO customers took to social media to show pictures of empty shelves. Turns out, LCBO was transitioning to a new warehouse management system. 

Customers may fear another shortage, with the sudden demand for 60-minute liquor deliveries. LCBO has been providing online orders and deliveries since 2016, but those deliveries took two to four days and more patience. 

This partnership with the LCBO is only one facet of Foodora’s plans to diversify. Deliveries from Fresh & Wild Food Market, Popeye’s Supplements and Circle K appear to be imminent additions as well. 

The LCBO historically has had a complicated relationship with alcohol, entrusted with both managing the access to booze and ensuring it yields profits for the provincial government’s coffers. 

The pilot with Foodora comes as the Progressive Conservative government, in power since 2018, has taken steps to change the rigid model for how alcohol flows through the province.  The government has expanded the availability of alcohol in grocery stores and is looking at privatizing the LCBO’s lucrative distribution business

Aside from these ongoing concerns, consumers in Ontario can begin enjoying their spirits to go and cross their fingers for stocked shelves. 

Corrie White

Corrie is fascinated how the supply chain is simultaneously ubiquitous and invisible. She covers freight technology, cross-border freight and the effects of consumer behavior on the freight industry. Alongside writing about transportation, her poetry has been published widely in literary magazines. She holds degrees in English and Creative Writing from UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Greensboro.