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Local Beer Store undergoing makeover

By Morgan Ian Adams, Enterprise-Bulletin

COLLINGWOOD — Beer lovers, prepare for a brand new experience.

Collingwood’s Beer Store is about to undergo a major renovation early in the new year as part of the Beer Store’s efforts to rebrand itself.

It will be one of 94 locations across the province that are part of a $30-million ‘reinvention’ of the province’s beer distribution system co-owned by Labatt, Molson-Coors, and Sleeman Breweries.

That includes dropping the ‘The’ from the name, along with a major renovation that should start by the end of January.

The store will remain open during renovations.

“We have been listening to beer lovers and today we’re making the commitment to reinvent these locations and give beer drinkers the shopping experience they deserve,” said Beer Store president, Ted Moroz at the grand opening of the Stockyards store in Toronto. “This isn’t simply a bricks-and-mortar renovation – we’re improving the layout, atmosphere and training at these stores.”

In an interview with the Enterprise-Bulletin just before Christmas, Moroz said the work on the Collingwood location should be complete by summer.

“It will be an improved shopping experience and a complete modernization of the store,” Moroz told the newspaper. “(The store) will have a cleaner, trendier atmosphere.

“It is really a reinvention strategy, and improving the customer experience for beer lovers.”

That includes installing more coolers that customers can browse in order to ‘mix-and-match’, and improved customer and product-knowledge training for Beer Store staff. The store will also feature an interactive digital touch display to explore the product selection of the approximate 400 brands from more than 100 brewers offered at Beer Store locations.

Renovated locations will also see the bottle return area physically separated from the shopping area.

Moroz said that physical separation will give beer shoppers a new and different experience, while maintaining the Beer Store’s mandate to recycling.

“Our environmental stewardship is something that we’re very proud of, and we’ve won awards in making sure this material doesn’t go to landfills,” said Moroz.

Beer Store locations divert about 500,000 tonnes of recyclable material per year — about 1.8 billion beer bottles in 2011-2012, along with 300 million wine and spirit containers

Moroz acknowledged the Beer Store is moving in a similar direction the LCBO did about a decade ago, updating the stores from the utilitarian look that was a holdover from the days when customers had to provide a chit in order to obtain spirits or wine.

That includes sending staff off to a ‘beer college’ training program in order to “engage with customers about different styles of beer,” said Moroz; that includes offering tips on food pairing, such as different styles of beers with different types of cheese.


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