Licensees often deal with manufacturer’s representatives. The role of a representative is to create a market for the manufacturer’s products possibly through samplings and tastings as well as conducting promotional activities. Licensed representatives cannot sell their products directly to a licensee. They can solicit and obtain orders and submit the correct purchase order forms to the manufacturer’s retail store or LCBO on behalf of the licensee.
Manufacturers or their representatives cannot give a licensee anything of a financial or material benefit in return for ordering their product. A licensee cannot ask for cash or price discounts. Anything considered essential to the licensee’s business such as staff uniforms, draught beer equipment, kitchen equipment, menu printing, decorating, televisions and electronic equipment cannot be accepted. Examples of acceptable items may include coasters, posters and tent cards.
Manufacturers or their representatives may offer to host theme nights or contests to raise the profile of their products. There is no limit to the number of events a representative may have in any one premises. A theme night or contest must be for the benefit of the customer and not for the benefit of the licensee or staff. The contest cannot require a patron to purchase the product in order to win a prize and a licensee must ensure that buying a drink does not improve a customer’s chance of winning. As well, the licensee cannot make a customer stay in the premises to receive a prize.
Sampling at a Licensed Premises for Customers
Licensed representatives are allowed to offer samples to customers if the liquor is part of the licensee’s stock. The representative is required to purchase the product from the licensee at the menu price. Samples cannot be discounted.
The sample must be served by the licensee or their staff, and the licensed representative must speak with the customer about the product being sampled on a one-to-one basis.
For more information, refer to the AGCO’s “Sampling Guidelines for Liquor Manufacturers”.
Sampling at a Licensed Premises for Licensees/Staff
A licensed representative may give a limited number of samples to a licence holder, if the licensee has not stocked the product for at least one year.
A representative may provide the following per year, per product:
- 48 bottles of beer (355 ml)
- 10 bottles of wine (750 ml)
- 3 bottles of spirits (750 ml)
The sample product is for the licensee or staff away from the licensed premises. Samples cannot be offered to customers and the product cannot be sold or stored with other alcoholic products bought on the Liquor Sales Licence.
A manufacturer or a licensed representative may bring liquor onto the premises for the purposes of having the licensee or its staff sample liquor products provided:
- The sampling is conducted in the presence of the manufacturer or representative.
- Any product that remains at the end of the sampling is removed.