The Urbanite: LCBO; CODDLE WITHOUT THE BOTTLE

Windsor's only downtown LCBO location. (Jonathon Liedtke)

The Urbanite – Jon Liedtke – May 7, 2014


If we’re going to be treated like babies in a nanny state, at least give us our bottles. 

Did you know that at one point in time the LCBO, our humble and benevolent alcohol over- lords, distilled their own brands of spirits? 

During Prohibition, dangerous medicinal alcohol was widely consumed and following the end of those dark days in 1927, the LCBO was founded. A year later in 1928 they created and bottled 65 OP Alcohol, at 48 per cent overproof as a substitute for medicinal alcohol.

According to LCBO spokesperson Lisa Murray, the product was widely consumed and helped to reduce the use of medicinal alcohol by 98 per cent. Other LCBO spirits soon included Whisky Blanc and Hamilton Canadian Brandy. 

The LCBO got so good at distillation that it was asked to bottle products for other suppliers; high quality at a lower price point ensured wide consumption. 

At the height of bottling operations, the LCBO produced over 50 brands totaling close to 4.5 million litres per year. But in 1996, the taps stopped flowing when faced with the need for a substantial investment in upgrading equipment. 

“LCBO does not currently have plans to resume production of its own brands,” said Murray. 

Why not?! 

If we’re going to be forced to endure a communist-like system of alcohol purchasing in which we have to go to the state-run liquor outlet, then surely it only makes sense that the state resume distilling, bottling and selling its own brands of spirits. 

Hell, take it one step further and the province should get into the business of brewing its own beer while we’re at it. 

It’s unlikely that we’ll see the LCBO resume distilling their own spirits and it’s even less likely that if they did the price point would be lower than that of other brands currently offered. The LCBO maintains high pricing both as part of its “social responsibility” and because provincial social programs require funding. 

And we’re left in a seemingly endless situation where we’ll forever be trapped in a patriarchal society, coddled like infants, pandered to like children, but in reality viewed as an ends to a means; filling the provincial coffers. 


The Urbanite: LCBO; CODDLE WITHOUT THE BOTTLE
JON LIEDTKE – May 7, 2014
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Jon Liedtke (The Urbanite – Jay Verspeelt)

Jonathon Liedtke is the managing editor of The Urbanite, Windsor’s alternative newspaper. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.


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