Demand for alcohol puts pressure on AGLC
Liquor distributor considering expansion, relocation
By: By Megan Sarrazin
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012 06:00 am
Alberta’s provincial liquor regulator is looking to expand its footprint in response to increased consumption of alcohol.
“The (Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission) has been looking at ways to better meet the current and future use of the province’s liquor distribution system,” said spokesperson Jody Korchinski.
This could mean an expansion of its current facility at 50 Corriveau Avenue or a move to a larger facility elsewhere. Korchinski said she doesn’t think there is space available to facilitate further expansion at the St. Albert site.
The St. Albert warehouse has been in use since 1983 – a time when government-run liquor stores were in operation – and has undergone several expansions since then.
Despite the expansions, the warehouse isn’t large enough to meet the demand.
“We have seen an increased growth in the number of products listed and also, just given the growth in Alberta’s population, the pure volume too has increased,” she said. “We’ve exceeded the current warehouse capacity.”
Retailers in the province must obtain all of their alcohol from a single distributor, Connect Logistics, which operates out of the current facility.
Lynn Anderson, spokesperson for Connect Logistics, said distribution has been provided by the company since 1994, shortly after the province privatized liquor retailing, warehousing and distribution.
“(The demand) has changed as the volume of liquor being sold has grown,” she said.
The number of liquor retailers has jumped from slightly more than 800 at the time of privatization to nearly 2,000 as of January 2012, with the number of products being sold climbing to nearly 16,500 compared to 2,200 in 1993.
Annual sales volume increased from 2.1 million hectolitres before privatization to 3.4 million hectolitres as of January 2012. Government revenue reached nearly $684 million in 2010-11.
Currently, the commission has four warehouses set up in the Edmonton area to meet this demand — one in St. Albert and three leased locations throughout Edmonton.
The three leased locations are more than double the size of the St. Albert warehouse.
“We have a commitment to ensuring the retail liquor stores are getting good service and that product is moving to them in an efficient way so they can serve their customers,” she said.
Korchinski said there is no timeline for when decisions will be made and couldn’t comment on a location or price tag.
Anderson wouldn’t comment on whether a larger facility would benefit Connect Logistics.
“We certainly can make recommendations and are always looking to improve what we’re doing,” she said. “That can, in some cases, mean a different space or more space but right now, we certainly feel like we’re providing good service in the space that’s being provided.”
The company’s current contract, which was inked in 2009, expires in 2015 at which time the contract will be open to bidders. Anderson said she expects Connect Logistics to place a bid to continue working as the commission’s sole distributor.