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Prepping for the LCBO Strike: Where to buy booze

By Ryan Saxby Hill on June 23, 2009


Photo courtesy of kalleboo on Flickr

Update 2: So it turns out that it may not be legal to transport alcohol across provincial boundaries, therefore apartment613 does not condone this activity and would caution you to please consult a legal expert before moving any beverages from the SAQ into Ottawa

Update: The LCBO and the Union have delayed a strike until a deal is signed or talks break-down.

Just as we’re cooling off from the transit strike that ruined our winter,  Ottawans are realizing that BBQ season may be without refreshments if LCBO workers strike tonight at midnight. Rest easy dear city mates, here are apartment613’s tips for wine shopping during the (possible) strike:

1. Gatineau
This isn’t a place you go to often (unless you’re 18 and looking to get into a bar), but seriously thank god for Gatineau! Most of the public service heads over there for work anyway, so it shouldn’t be hard to get someone to swing to the SAQ for a liquor run. If you get confused by all the French words just look for the “vin.”

The closest locations are:
SAQ Classique at 141 Promenades du Portage, Hull
Open Monday to Wednesday from 10:00am-6:00pm, Thursdays until 7:00pm, Friday until 8:00pm and Saturdays from 12:00-5:00pm

SAQ Depot at 210 rue Champlain, Gatineau
Open Monday to Wednesday from 9:30-6:30, Thursday and Friday until 9:00pm, Saturday until 5:00pm and Sunday from 11:00am-5:00pm.

2. The Wine Rack

Owned by wine super-producer Vincor, the Wine Rack has long been a great spot to grab a bottle at Loblaws in a pinch. I’m sure that an LCBO strike will mean a boom for business. There are over 160 stores in Ontario and probably one at the grocery store you’re used to going to. You can find the closest location with their store locator.

The Wine Rack can only stock wine from Vincor – and some of it can be really over-priced for what it is. If you are having trouble picking, the Naked Grape whites are a good value and totally drinkable and the Jackson-Triggs Merlot is a good price and nice general-purpose red.

3. Other Random Wineries/ Boutiques

There are actually a bunch of wineries located in and around Ottawa that might be worth a visit. I can’t confirm the currency and accuracy of this list but the Ottawa Citizen has a list online from 2007 (this will likely be the subject of another post this summer, but more “research” is required).

Located in the Loeb in Kanata – the local(ish) retail boutique for Colio Estate Wines might be a good option for folks in that area. I’ve never tried the wine, but an LCBO strike might just be the motivation needed!

The popular Chateau des Charmes winery has a retail outlet in the Minto place in Ottawa. You can get bulk orders for corporate giving, which might be a good employee retention strategy during an extended LCBO strike.

4. Home Brew

Homemade wine isn’t always crap. Well… most of it is; but it’s also really cheap. If you don’t have the space for wine making in your one bedroom condo, do not fret! There are plenty of places in Ottawa where you can make wine on site including The Brewing Station on Bank Street and Pure Brew in Orleans.

If none of this works for you, from several news reports today it sounds like there will be some LCBO locations open. But customers will have to cross the picket lines to get in.

Other options? Other ideas? Comment below!

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