Information guide for new applicants

What is a Manufacturer’s Licence?

The Registrar (“The Registrar, established under section 6 of the Alcohol, Cannabis and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act”) issues Manufacturer’s Licences which allow manufacturers to sell their Ontario wine, beer, or spirits to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) for distribution in its system or by other approved means.

A Manufacturer’s Licence is not a licence to manufacture liquor.

Things to know before applying

Contact Information

Prior to submitting an application for a Manufacturer’s Licence to the AGCO, applicants should contact the LCBO to obtain information on relevant LCBO policies. Please refer to section 5, “Contacts for Research and Additional Information”, located at the end of this guide.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a Manufacturer’s Licence, applicants must be:

  • nineteen (19) years of age or older
  • financially responsible
  • conduct the business in accordance with the law and with integrity and honesty (please note that police records checks will be conducted on all individuals involved in an application)

Applicants are generally not permitted any direct or indirect financial ownership in an establishment holding a liquor sales licence (i.e. licensed restaurants and bars). Please refer to section 6 of the Liquor Licence Act for further information.

Compliance assurance – maintaining your licence

Once a Manufacturer’s Licence has been issued, the holder of the Licence is responsible for operating their business responsibly and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Licence holders will be subject to the following:

  • regular renewal of the licence: Manufacturer’s Licences are valid for a period of either two or four years. As a courtesy, licence holders will be sent a renewal notice approximately 60 days prior to the expiry date shown on the licence, however it remains the licensee’s responsibility to ensure the licence is renewed on time.
  • periodic inspections by AGCO Compliance Officials: All locations may be inspected by AGCO Compliance Officials for compliance with the Liquor Control Act, the Liquor Licence Act and their regulations. You must allow AGCO Compliance Officials unobstructed access to your business and you must facilitate their inspections.
  • the Liquor Licence Act, its regulations and the Registrar’s Advertising Guidelines and Sampling Guidelines.
  • any conditions attached to the licence.
  • mandatory staff/server training: The manufacturer must ensure that any person involved in the sale, service or sampling of liquor, or who are involved in taking orders for liquor from customers has successfully completed a server training course approved by the Board of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (the “Board”). The Board has approved the Smart Serve® Training Program. Please visit www.smartserve.ca for more information. Please note that the AGCO recognizes the Server Intervention Program certification issued prior to May 1995.

For more information on some of the legal responsibilities of a licence holder, please refer to the Liquor Licence Act and its regulations available at www.ontario.ca/laws.

Licences/Authorizations related to a Manufacturer’s Licence (Distillery)

Current legislation allows other limited activities at the site of a spirits manufacturer. Holders of a Manufacturer’s Licence (distillery) may also be eligible for:

  • the operation of an on-site distillery retail store where eligible products made by the manufacturer may be sold directly to the public. Please refer to the AGCO’s Distillery Retail Store Information Guide and section 2 of this guide for further information.
  • the operation of a licensed premise at the same municipal or property address as the manufacturing site. This permits a restaurant/establishment that shares a municipal or property address with the manufacturing site, where the manufacturer’s products may be “showcased” on their own or in conjunction with other brands and types of liquor. This type of licensed establishment, often referred to as a “Tied House” is exempt from the requirement of having to sell a variety of brands, and may provide for the full sale and service of liquor and food within the licensed premises. Please refer to Section 3 of this guide for more information.

How to apply

You can apply for a Manufacturer’s Licence and a Manufacturer’s “By the Glass” Licence - Distillery online, through the iAGCO portal.

Supporting Documents

What supporting documents/information are needed to apply?

When applying for your Manufacturer’s Licence online, you will be asked to provide the following as part of your application. These items can be provided to the AGCO at any time during the application process:

  1. A Summary of your Business Plan, which sets out:
    • a full description of the product(s) to be manufactured on site at the new facility 
    • floor plans showing the complete layout of the manufacturing facility, including equipment and proposed location of an on-site retail store (if applicable)
    • the channel(s) through which you plan to sell your product(s) (i.e., LCBO, on-site, direct to licensees, export)
    • If your product(s) will be manufactured at a facility other than your own, please provide details.
  2. Copy of Federal Excise Licence (Distillery)

    The Excise Act and the Excise Act, 2001 (administered by the Canada Revenue Agency) require that a person obtain a licence under these federal statutes prior to producing or packaging wine, beer and/or spirits in Canada. Please contact the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-866-667-9851 for further information.

  3. Written Proof of LCBO Product Testing

    Please contact the LCBO’s Quality Assurance Department at quality.assurance@lcbo.com or visit Doing Business with LCBO for further information, including laboratory testing fees.

  4. Copy of Business Name Registration

    The business name under which you intend to operate may have to be registered under the Business Names Act. For information regarding business name registration please call toll free 1-800-361-3223 or visit www.serviceontario.ca.

Fees and Payment

  • please refer to the AGCO’s Application Fee Schedule for the applicable fee.
  • when using online services, payments must be made by Visa, MasterCard, Interac Online, Visa Debit or MasterCard Debit.
  • payments of $30,000 or more must be made by money wire transfer or electronic funds transfer. Please note that cheques and cash are not accepted as forms of payment when using iAGCO online services. For more information please contact AGCO Customer Service at 416-326-8700 or 1-800-522-2876.
  • all application fees must be received by the AGCO before an application will be processed.
  • all fees are non-refundable.

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