Grocery Gateway will stop by the liquor store

Customers of Grocery Gateway Inc. can now order almost anything the liquor store carries from Canada's largest online grocery delivery company and have it delivered to their door along with their groceries.

The Toronto Star
February 27, 2002

Grocery Gateway will stop by the liquor store
Delivery service expands booze selection for a fee
Dana Flavelle

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Will that be a bottle of 12-year-old single malt Scotch to go with your beef tenderloin?

Customers of Grocery Gateway Inc. can now order almost anything the liquor store carries from Canada's largest online grocery delivery company and have it delivered to their door along with their groceries.

Grocery Gateway has been delivering a limited selection of wine and beer for three years but customers wanted more, said Al Sellery, the company's president.

"This has been the Number 1 thing our customers have asked us to expand the assortment on," he said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The expanded offering comes at a price. Grocery Gateway will be charging $1 per item of alcohol on top of its regular $8 grocery delivery fee to cover the cost of picking and packing the items at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. An item is considered one bottle or a six-pack of beer. Customers must order a minimum of $60 worth of groceries.

To expand the selection, the company had to change the type of liquor licence it holds. Previously, the company was only offering beer made by one Ontario microbrewer and wine made by one Ontario winery under a manufacturer's representative licence.

There was no extra service fee because Grocery Gateway was making money on the difference between the wholesale price it paid for the alcohol and the retail price it charged customers.

But the licence was proving to be too restrictive, said Sellery. For example, the company was limited to holding no more than 180 litres of alcohol at any one time. With more than 1,500 food orders a day crossing the company's desk, "we were having to go to our supplier several times a day in order not to cross our limit," he said.

Now, Grocery Gateway has a liquor delivery service licence, which gives its access to the full range of products carried by the LCBO.

However, under Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario regulations, liquor delivery companies must pay retail prices for the alcohol, aren't allowed to mark it up and must charge a minimum $6.95 delivery fee. The fee is included in Grocery Gateway's regular $8 delivery charge, company co-founder John Mozas said.

The extra $1 per item is to cover the cost of picking up and packing the alcohol, Mozas said.


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