Quebecers want a wider choice of wine in restaurants

May 10 2017

The majority of people living in Quebec believe that restaurants should be able to offer a wider range of wine from other provinces.

A recent poll on wine imports and distribution, published by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI), found that 71 per cent of Quebecers believe independent restaurateurs should have the right to import wine and sell it directly to consumers.

Most Quebec residents think that restaurants and their customers are impeded by the current system, which allows direct imports from producers, despite being almost impossible to do so efficiently in light of all the taxes, levies and paperwork involved.

The MEI’s research demonstrated how the current situation was restricting options for diners, said David Lefebvre, vice president overseeing federal and Quebec for Restaurants Canada - a not-for-profit association representing Canada’s restaurant and foodservice industry.

“These numbers show a solid majority of people from Quebec recognize the huge hurdles to wine imports and the negative effect it has on consumer choice and product diversity,” said Mr Lefebvre.

“Our members want to be able to offer a better variety of products and make them affordable for their customers. To allow operators to import some of their own products without always going through the province’s liquor monopoly is a step in the right direction.”

He went on to say that all Canadian producers of beer, wine and spirits would benefit from liberalization of the market and the removal of legislative and regulatory hurdles.

“Dozens of small and medium-sized Quebec producers stand to benefit from a new regime, and our members can’t wait to have more of these products on tap,” Mr Lefebvre added.

In alcohol-related news, the Quebec Budget earlier this year proposed a two per cent increase in alcohol excise tax, a move which would cost licensees $470 million between now and 2022.

Joyce Reynolds, executive vice president of government affairs at Restaurants Canada, reacted at the time by saying that alcohol was already over-taxed in Canada and increased federal tax would only hamper the hospitality industry and the economy.

Read more on what the Quebec Budget meant for restaurants here.