Tuesday, May 5, 2020


The Ontario government is taking additional measures to help hospitality sector workers and businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The province is allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell spirits with a food order at a lower price and is making it easier for cideries to sell directly to consumers.

Effective immediately, the price for whiskey, gin, rum and other spirits will be temporarily reduced from the current licensee minimum price of $2.00 per 29 mL to $1.34 per 29 mL. By making spirits more affordable the government is providing further support to restaurants, bars and other establishments that cannot serve patrons in-house during the current state of emergency.

This measure will be revoked on January 1, 2021, matching the duration of the temporary ability for bars and restaurants to sell alcohol with food for takeout and delivery which is in place until December 31, 2020.

The government is also taking steps to support those who produce cider. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has temporarily removed the requirement for cideries to have five acres of planted fruit in order to qualify for a store at their cidery. This change will allow all licensed manufacturers of cider to sell their products on-site or deliver directly to consumers across Ontario.


  • Regulation 719 under Ontario’s Liquor Licence Act (LLA) sets out the minimum prices for alcohol sold at licensed establishments. Those price requirements are established per serving (e.g. per 1oz or 29 mL of spirits).
  • When Ontario recently amended Regulation 719 under the LLA to allow licensed establishments to sell alcohol as part of a food takeout or delivery order, the existing minimum price requirements were not changed.
  • Since establishments are only permitted to sell sealed, unopened containers of alcohol with food delivery and takeout orders, spirits costs became cost prohibitive for consumers.
  • Today’s amendment to Regulation 719 provides a reduction to the per-serving cost of spirits sold with food takeout and delivery orders. Licensed establishments may still choose the price at which they will sell alcohol, as long as they are not lower than the minimum price requirements.
  • The reduced minimum pricing structure for spirits would only be applicable for takeout and delivery orders, so if the declared state of emergency ended prior to January 1, 2021 and customers could be served in-house, the existing minimum price per serving for spirits would continue to apply to in-house service.
  • The minimum price has been reduced from $2.00 per 29 mL to $1.34 per 29 mL. The following chart provides examples of the existing and new minimum prices for common sizes of sealed, unopened bottles of spirits:



Minimum Price at a Liquor Licensed Establishment for in-house service

Minimum Price at a Liquor Licensed Establishment for takeout and delivery – until December 31, 2020









“The AGCO continues to work closely with the Government of Ontario during the state of emergency to support Ontarians and the sectors we regulate. The reduced minimum prices for bottles of spirits sold by licensed establishments, and the rule change for cidery retail are additional ways to support the hospitality sector as it deals with the effects of COVID-19.”

Jean Major, Registrar and CEO, AGCO



AGCO Communications


The AGCO is responsible for regulating the alcohol, gaming, horse racing and private cannabis retail sectors in Ontario in accordance with the principles of honesty and integrity, and in the public interest.

The AGCO is a regulatory agency with a governing board that reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General. The agency was established on February 23, 1998 under the Alcohol, Cannabis and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996.

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