With the Ontario government set to announce a new deal in alcohol retail, a Pluriel poll finds 47% support for beer and wine sales in convenience stores, while only 29% oppose.

A newly released poll of 838 Ontario adults conducted by Pluriel on November 26, 2023, finds a plurality of Ontarians support substantial expansions of the options for alcohol retail in the province.

Top takeaways

  • While the soon-to-be-announced rules on alcohol retail in Ontario are likely to see substantial attention, 42% of Ontarians say they’re satisfied with their current options. Only 18% say they’re dissatisfied with the status quo. Ontarians tell us this is not a particularly burning issue for them.
  • But when we get into the options under negotiation, we find support for expanding retail options. 47% support allowing convenience stores to sell beer and wine, while only 29% oppose. We find an age gap on this question: beer and wine in corner stores is more popular among younger voters, among men, and among past PC supporters.
  • This trend carries through to the other expanded options we tested: majorities support allowing non-LCBO or Beer Store retailers to sell beer in formats larger than a six-pack, providing protections for local producers, and allowing drinks like hard seltzers and canned cocktails to be sold outside the LCBO.

Quote

“While Ontarians tell us the rules around alcohol retail aren’t a burning issue, most won’t say no to more options. All of the expanded options we tested–from beer and wine in convenience stores to allowing hard seltzer to be sold outside the LCBO–have net-positive support levels. And Ontarians under the age of 35 and men are particularly supportive of expanded alcohol retail options.”

Gabriel De Roche, CEO of Pluriel Research

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Detailed tables available here (Google Sheets)

Plurality of Ontarians are satisfied with number of alcohol retail options

  • 42% of Ontarians are satisfied with the number of options they have when it comes to buying alcohol in the province
  • The next largest group are those who say they’re neutral, at 40%, suggesting this is a not a particularly burning issue for Ontarians
  • Only 18% say they’re dissatisfied with their options (and only 6% are “very dissatisfied”)

Beer and wine in convenience stores

  • The retail expansion likely to get the most attention is allowing beer and wine to be sold in convenience stores
  • 27% of Ontarians support this move — much more than the 29% who oppose the expansion
  • Taking a deeper dive into who supports the expansion, we find both an age gap and a gender gap
  • A majority of 53% of Ontarians aged 18-34 support the expansion of beer and wine sales to convenience stores, compared to 47% of those aged 35-54, and 42% over the age of 55
  • Similarly, 53% of men support the expansion, compared to 42% of women
  • A majority of past PC voters (52%) would support the move. 44% of past NDP voters and 42% of past Liberal voters, though these groups of supporters are still a plurality among their respective partisans

Majority support for removing restrictions on larger format beer sales outside the Beer Store and LCBO

  • 52% of Ontarians would support allowing retail outlets like grocery stores to sell beer in formats larger than a six-pack
  • Only 27% would oppose this move

Ontarians love their local producers, want protections

  • The issue under negotiation that sees the least opposition is providing protections for local producers: only 8% disagree that Ontario growers/producers should receive protections
  • 57% agree (20% strongly, 37% somewhat) with protections for local breweries and wineries

Majority wants to be able to buy hard seltzers and canned cocktail outside the LCBO

  • Hard seltzers and canned cocktails are a category of alcoholic beverage seeing rapid growth both in Ontario and around the world
  • A majority of Ontarians (53%) agree that the government should allow these beverages to be sold in more retail outlets outside of just the LCBO. Only 21% disagree, and 26% are neutral on the question

Methodological note

This survey was conducted on November 26, 2023, with a sample size of 838 adult (18+) residents of Ontario. Respondents were recruited from a blend of online panel providers to maximize representativeness. Sample imbalances were minimized through the use of quota sampling on age, gender, and region, and post-stratification survey weights were applied to correct for any remaining observable sample imbalance. The margin-of-error for an equivalently sized probability sample is +/- 3.4% (19 times out of 20). Margins-of-error for subgroups are larger commensurate with their share of the population. Reported percentages may not always add to 100 due to rounding. This survey was paid for by Pluriel.