March 16, 2018: The Government of Ontario has recently approved amendments to Ontario Regulation 719 under the Liquor Licence Act (LLA) affecting Ontario distilleries. These reforms aim to create consistency within the By the Glass program for all Ontario manufacturers, to remove barriers to investment and innovation, and to enhance the Ontario tourism experience while strengthening Ontario’s approach to ensuring the responsible sale and service of alcohol.

“By the Glass” Licence for Ontario Distilleries

Effective immediately, Ontario distilleries that hold a manufacturer’s licence under the LLA are eligible to make an application to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for a Manufacturer´s Limited Liquor Sales Licence (commonly known as a “By the Glass Licence”). 

Since 2007, Ontario wineries and breweries have been eligible for a By the Glass Licence to allow them to sell and serve their wine (including cider) and beer to patrons for consumption in single servings at their manufacturing site, in order to promote the manufacturer´s product, provide an enhanced tourist experience or fulfill an educational purpose.

With this recent regulatory change, the By the Glass program has been extended to include distilleries, with the same regulatory requirements and licensing fees applicable to wineries and breweries now being applicable to distilleries.

Licensing Fees

The AGCO has established a fee to recover a portion of the administrative and regulatory costs incurred by the AGCO in regulating By the Glass Licences for distilleries.

As with wineries and breweries, distilleries that apply for a By the Glass Licence will have the choice of a two-year or a four-year licence term, and be required to pay the corresponding fee as set out below:

Manufacturer´s Limited Liquor Sales Licence (by-the-glass) new/renewal spirits (licence valid 2 yrs.) $450
Manufacturer´s Limited Liquor Sales Licence (by-the-glass) new/renewal spirits (licence valid 4 yrs.) $900

There is also a one-time fee of $225 for By the Glass Licence transfers.

Operational Requirements

Ontario distilleries which hold a “By the Glass Licence” are only permitted to sell and serve the spirits which it has manufactured and in servings whose quantities do not exceed 43 ml (1.5 oz.). Spirits may only be sold and served between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. on any day. The sale and service of spirits is only permitted in areas approved under the licence that are on or immediately adjacent to a manufacturing site and under the sole control of the manufacturer.

Server Training

Server training (approved by the Board of the AGCO) is mandatory for all servers of beverage alcohol and must be completed as of the first day of work. The Board of the AGCO has approved the Smart Serve® Training Program. This program is available on video or on the Smart Serve website at www.smartserve.ca. Please note that the AGCO recognizes The Server Intervention Program certification issued prior to May 1995.

Submit your questions online at www.agco.ca/iAGCO.

For more information contact:

AGCO Customer Service
Telephone: 416-326-8700
Toll free in Ontario: 1-800-522-2876
Email: customer.service@agco.ca

Additional Resources: 

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