By now it should be obvious to beer aficionados, and anyone who is actively seeking out unique and worldly products at the LCBO that Ontario is extremely restricted in the products that we are able to buy. The LCBO does have a great selection of wines, spirits, beers and more, however compared to our counterparts in other provinces and in the United States, we are merely children.
Constantly products are being refused by either the AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) or the LCBO because of their drastically strict regulations as to what can and can not be sold in Ontario based on a level of appropriateness. I understand that both the LCBO and AGCO are ensuring that they are being socially responsible, however some of the red tape that goes up is just absurd, and really restricts the range of products we have to choose from.
Most recently, the LCBO desisted the Samichlaus, a beer long cherished by aficionados world wide, including yours truly. The LCBO claims that their decision was purely for commercial reasons, however the AGCO has officially moved to ban Samichlaus from Ontario because of its name, and the logo on the bottle which apparently to closely resembles Santa Clause.
This is all in an effort to endorse their stance on not promoting alcohol to children. Umm.. Really? I would be hard pressed to find many children that would fall in love with the Gothic font and old fisherman like “santa” that the AGCO claims would attract them.
This is an issue that has attracted the attention of other industry experts; for full details and quotes see the National Post’s original article, “Santa beer on Ontario’s Naughty List”.