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Sales of alcoholic beverages grow to $21.4 billion, Statistics Canada says

OTTAWA - Canadians are buying less beer, but more wine and spirits, according to Statistics Canada, which reported Thursday that Canadians spent $21.4 billion on alcoholic beverages in the last fiscal year, up 2.2 per cent from a year ago. Beer is still the favourite tipple in Canada as sales totalled $9.1 billion for the year ended March 31, but that was down 0.1 per cent from a year ago And by volume, sales of domestic beer fell 1.7 per cent to 2.0 billion litres, while import beer sales dropped 3.8 per cent to 300 million litres.

Consultations begin on in-store beer brewing and winemaking in Nova Scotia

HALIFAX - Consultations to develop regulations that would allow people in Nova Scotia to make wine or beer in stores will start this week. The provincial government says it will work with the beer brewing and winemaking industry to develop regulations and standards that are expected to be introduced in the next legislative session. The deadline for input is Feb. 10.

Ontario wines to be sold at farmers' markets: Premier Wynne

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. - Ontario is joining British Columbia in relaxing provincial liquor laws to allow homegrown wines to be sold at farmers' markets. VQA wines, which are made only with Ontario grapes, will be available along with seasonal vegetables and fruits, Premier Kathleen Wynne said Monday. British Columbia Premier Christy Clark announced last week that her province's wines, beers and spirits would be available next spring at farmers' markets, festivals and competitions.

Wynne supports Canada-EU deal, but still has concerns over compensation

TORONTO - Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she supports the tentative free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. She says she does have some concerns about how some provisions will affect Ontario, but she won't block the deal. Economic Development and Trade Minister Eric Hoskins says the federal government has committed to compensating the dairy sector should the deal affect their bottom line.

Ontario's liquor board sweetens deal for federal, embassy booze purchases

OTTAWA - Ontario's liquor board has sweetened an already sweet deal for the federal government and foreign diplomats as it chops the prices they pay for beer, wine and booze almost in half. Late last month, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario began offering its products to federal departments and agencies at a 49 per cent discount from the retail price that everyone else pays. The cut rate on alcoholic beverages is also available to foreign embassies, high commissions, consulates and trade missions, most of whom are located in the Ottawa area, within the LCBO's jurisdiction.

Canada, EU have no trouble seeing benefits of free trade in wine and spirits

OTTAWA - The Canada-Europe trade talks may be stalled on a number of controversial topics, but in one area — wines and spirits — there's been plenty of cheer going around. Sources close to the trade negotiations in Brussels say the two sides have had a relatively easy time settling on rules governing wines and spirits, although European vintners likely still view wine producers in Ontario and British Columbia as receiving preferential treatment.

LCBO technical contract one year late, $425,000 over original budget

OTTAWA - An LCBO contract to create an automated warehouse system for keg beer and speciality products is more than a year overdue and $425,000 over budget. The system was competitively tendered in 2011, with the contract originally awarded to Tecsys Inc. for $1.55 million. "Tecsys ended up being the winner, both in overall capacity and in price," LCBO's Hugh Kelly, senior vice president of information technology, said in July 2011 after six firms bid on the contract.

US wine exports hit record $1.4 bn in 2012

US wine exports uncorked a record year in 2012, bringing in $1.43 billion in revenues as demand grew in Germany, Sweden, Japan and China, the Wine Institute said Thursday. Wine exports -- 90 percent from California -- rose by 2.6 percent, the third year in a row of increases, said the San Francisco-based institute, which represents the California wine industry. Volume shipments reached 424.6 million liters, or 112.2 million cases, last year, a slight slowdown from 2011 shipments of 425.5 million liters (47.3 million cases).
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