Spirits Manufacturers’ Guide

Last Updated: 
2022-05-02

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Grandes Lignes / Table des Matières

Section 1: Introduction

Last Updated: 
2022-05-02

What is a Manufacturer’s Licence?

There are three classes of Manufacturer’s Licences:

  • To sell wine, a manufacturer must hold a Winery Licence.

  • To sell beer, a manufacturer must hold a Brewery Licence.

  • To sell spirits, a manufacturer must hold a Distillery Licence.

A distillery licence permits a manufacturer to keep for sale, offer for sale or sell spirits in accordance with the regulations.

It is important to keep in mind that the AGCO’s Manufacturer’s licence is NOT a licence to manufacture liquor. 

This Guide provides information on how to apply for, and maintain, a Distillery Licence, as well as other licences and endorsements that licensed distilleries may also be eligible for, which include:

  • A By-the-Glass Endorsement which authorizes a licensee to sell and serve their products for consumption in areas that are under the sole control of the licensee and on or immediately adjacent to the production site where the sale is primarily aimed at promoting the manufacturer’s product and either providing an enhanced tourist experience or fulfilling an educational purpose.

  • A Caterer’s Endorsement which authorizes a licensee who has a By-the-Glass Endorsement to sell and serve their liquor at catered events at locations away from the manufacturer’s licensed premises.

  • A Liquor Sales Licence which authorizes the licensee to sell and serve liquor at a tied house located at the municipal or property address of their production site.

  • A Distillery Retail Store Endorsement which authorizes a distillery to sell its spirits at any location on the licensee’s production site from a retail store on the production site.

  • A Temporary Extension Endorsement which authorizes a licensee who has a Distillery Retail Store Endorsement to sell their eligible products within a farmers’ market or at an eligible industry promotional event, as an occasional extension of their retail store.

  • A Delivery Endorsement which authorizes a licensee to deliver liquor from another manufacturer’s winery retail store, brewery retail store or distillery retail store to a customer.

Section 2: How to apply for an AGCO Licence, Endorsement or Permit

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

You can apply for and manage any AGCO licence, endorsement or permit, including those described in this Guide, online, through the iAGCO portal.

Fees and Payment

  • Please refer to the AGCO’s Schedule of Liquor Licensing Fees for the applicable fee for any licence, endorsement or permit.

  • 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 fees must be received by the AGCO before an application will be processed.

  • All fees are non-refundable.

Section 3: Distillery Licence

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

Things to know before applying

Prior to submitting an application for a Distillery Licence to the AGCO, applicants should contact the LCBO to obtain relevant information about product testing. Please refer to the Key Liquor Industry Contacts page.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a Distillery Licence, applicants must be:

  • 19 years of age or older

  • financially responsible

  • conduct the business in accordance with the law and with integrity and honesty (please note that this may include, among other activities, police records checks on the applicant and some or all interested persons) 

Applicants are generally not permitted any direct or indirect financial ownership in a business holding a Licence Sales Licence (e.g. licensed restaurants and bars). Please refer to section 20 of Regulation 746/21 under the Liquor Licence and Control Act (LLCA) for further information.

Distribution and Warehousing

Manufacturers that hold a Distillery Licence may distribute their own spirits, or the wine or spirits of another manufacturer to persons who have purchased the liquor from the LCBO or another person authorized to sell liquor. To “distribute” means to transport liquor, other than transporting it to customers for consumption, and includes the warehousing of liquor during its transportation.

Distilleries may also enter into an agreement or arrangement with another person to distribute their products. In this case, the person could be another AGCO-licensed manufacturer or a person who is not licensed by the AGCO. The manufacturer remains responsible for compliance with the Liquor Licence and Control Act, its regulations, and standards and requirements established by the Registrar as they relate to distribution of their products.

In limited circumstances, as set out in Regulation 746/21 under the Liquor Licence and Control Act, holders of a Distillery Licence may also distribute the beer of another manufacturer.

A party that is distributing liquor that it did not produce may provide transportation and warehousing services, but cannot buy or sell that liquor.

Distilleries are permitted to use facilities in Ontario and that are located away from their production site as additional storage for their product and/or to support distribution of their product. Distilleries cannot promote, take orders for or sell liquor from an off-site warehouse, or use an off-site warehouse to service deliveries to end use consumers.

Distilleries must maintain records of the location of any offsite storage facilities where their liquor is stored, and provide that information to the AGCO on request.

Supporting documents

What supporting documents/information are needed to apply?

When applying for your Distillery Licence (Manufacturer’s Licence – Distillery) online via the iAGCO portal, 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:

  • Summary of your Business Plan, which sets out:

    • a full description of the products to be manufactured on site

    • floor plans showing the complete layout of the manufacturing facility, including equipment and proposed location of any retail store to be located at the production site (if applicable)

    • the channel(s) through which you plan to sell your product(s) (e.g. LCBO, under a Distillery Retail Store Endorsement, export)

    • If your product(s) will be manufactured at a facility other than your own, please provide details.

  • Copy of Federal Excise Licence (Distillery)
    The Excise Act and the Excise Act, 2001 (administered by the Canada Revenue Agency) requires that a person obtain a licence under these federal statutes prior to producing or packaging wine, beer and/or spirits in Canada.

  • Written proof of LCBO Product Testing
    Please contact the LCBO for further information, including laboratory testing fees. Contact information can be found in the Key Liquor Industry Contacts page.

  • Copy of Business Name Registration
    The business name under which you intend to operate may have to be registered under the Business Names Act.

  • Entity Disclosure (if applicable)
    All questions must be answered.

  • Personal Disclosure, to be completed by all of the following individuals:

    • owner (if the applicant is a sole proprietor)

    • officers and directors including: signing officer, president, secretary, treasurer

    • all persons holding 10% or more of the outstanding shares, or of a class of shares

    • all partners

Compliance— maintaining your licence

Once a Distillery Licence has been issued, the licensee is responsible for operating their business responsibly and in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and the standards and requirements established by the Registrar. Among other requirements, licensees will be subject to the following:

  • The Liquor Licence and Control Act (LLCA) its regulations, and the standards and requirements established by the Registrar.

  • Regular renewal of the licence:  Licensees may select a two or four year term duration, with fees payable to match the length of the term. As a courtesy, licensees 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 Inspectors: All premises used by the licensee in relation to the licence may be inspected by AGCO Inspectors for compliance with the Liquor Licence and Control Act, its regulations, and the standards and requirements established by the Registrar. You must allow AGCO Inspectors unobstructed access to your business and you must facilitate their inspections.

  • Audit: Audits include inspection and implementation of production controls and compliance with the Liquor Licence and Control Act. The AGCO may also request different types of business records for audit purposes.

  • Any conditions attached to the licence.

  • Mandatory Staff/Server Training: As required by the standards and requirements established by the Registrar, persons involved in the sale, service, delivery or sampling of liquor, or who are involved in taking orders for liquor from customers must successfully completed a server training course approved by the Board of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (the “Board”) and hold a valid certificate. The Board has approved the Smart Serve® Training Program. Please visit www.smartserve.ca for more information. 

Changes requiring a transfer of a licence

All Distillery Licences are issued to individuals, business partnerships or corporations, for operation at a specific location. The licensee is responsible for the ongoing operation of the licence.

A transfer of the licence is required if there is a prescribed change of ownership of a business carried on under a licence or if the licensee changes, or if a different person wishes to acquire the licence.

Prescribed Changes in ownership requiring a transfer:

  1. An individual becomes or ceases to be an officer or director of,

    1. a licensee that is a corporation, or

    2. a corporation that effectively controls the activities authorized under the licence.

  2. A person becomes or ceases to be a partner of a licensee that is a partnership.

  3. A person or partnership acquires a beneficial interest in the licensed business, including acquiring shares of a licensee that is a corporation or of a corporation that effectively controls the business, that results in the person or partnership holding or controlling 10 per cent or more of the outstanding shares, or of a class of shares, of the corporation.

  4. A person or partnership other than the licensee becomes entitled to any of the profits from the sale of liquor or liable for any obligations incurred from the activities authorized under the licence.

In cases where an individual ceases to be an officer or director of a corporate licensee or a partner ceases to be a partner in a partnership that is a licensee, if the licensee gives the Registrar notice of the change within 30 days after the change occurs, the licensee may continue to engage in activities authorized under the licence without requiring a licence transfer.

Transfer to a Different Person

A manufacturer’s licence is eligible to be transferred to a different person, provided the regulatory requirements are met.

The Registrar may also transfer manufacturer’s licence for a period of not more than one year, when:

  • A trustee in bankruptcy or court-appointed receiver acquires the business of the licensee

  • A mortgagee, franchisor, landlord, or executor or administrator of the estate of a deceased licensee takes possession of the licensed premises.

The Registrar may develop a simplified application process for the transfer of a manufacturer’s licence in the following circumstances if the principal individuals involved in the licensed business remain the same after the change occurs:

  1. The licence transfers between a sole proprietorship and a corporation.

  2. The licence transfers between a partnership and a corporation.

  3. The licence transfers from a partnership to a sole proprietorship.

  4. The licence transfers from one corporation to another corporation.

  5. Two or more corporations amalgamate into a single corporation and a licence from one of those corporations transfers to the amalgamated corporation.

A transfer will not be approved, in most instances, if the current licensee has an outstanding monetary penalty or if the recipient of the transfer would not be eligible to be issued a licence.

The business trade (operating) name may have to be registered under the Business Names Act. Also note that corporations must file updated information with respect to officers and directors of a corporation with the Companies and Personal Property Security Branch on a regular basis. Please see the Ontario.ca Central Forms Repository. Forms must be forwarded to the Companies and Personal Property Security Branch for processing.

How to transfer a Licence?

Applications to transfer your Licence can be completed online via the iAGCO portal.

Please note:

  • The entity to whom the licence is being transferred TO is responsible for submitting the application to transfer the licence.

  • The application must include a signed Consent to Transfer, signed by the current licence holder(s). This form can be found via the iAGCO portal .

Supporting Documents

What supporting documents/information are needed to transfer a licence?

When applying to transfer a Manufacturer’s Licence – Distillery, you must provide the same documents and information as when applying for a new licence.

In addition, the following must be provided:

  • Confirmation of Sale: Transfer applicants must submit written confirmation signed by the vendor, a lawyer or an accountant, that the sale of the business or shares has been completed.

Other Notes for Transfer Applicants

Should the transfer application be approved, a licence shall be issued to the new owners with the expiry date of the original licence.

Transfer applicants must check the expiry date of the existing licence to ensure that the licence will not expire during the time it takes to process the transfer application.

Renewing a Distillery Licence

Distillery Licences are valid for a period of two or four years. As a courtesy, licensees 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.

You can apply to renew your Distillery Licence online, through the iAGCO portal.

Your renewal application will not be accepted if there has been a change of ownership that has not been previously reported to the AGCO. If there has been a change of ownership, you must complete an application to transfer your licence and submit it to the AGCO (please see Changes Requiring Transfer of a Licence).

Your renewal application must be received by the AGCO on or before the expiry date on your Distillery Licence.

If your renewal application is not received by the expiry date on your licence, your licence will expire and you can no longer sell or serve liquor.

Section 4: By-the-Glass Endorsement

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

What is a By-the-Glass Endorsement?

A By-the-Glass-Endorsement allows eligible Ontario distilleries with a Distillery Licence to sell and serve their products for consumption in areas that are under sole control of licensee that are located on or immediately adjacent to the production site where the sale is primarily aimed at promoting the manufacturer’s product and either providing an enhanced tourist experience or fulfilling an educational purpose.

Things to know before you apply

Eligibility Criteria

Only Ontario distilleries which hold a Distillery Licence are eligible for this endorsement.

Operational Restrictions

A distillery that holds a By-the-Glass Endorsement to their Distillery Licence is only permitted to sell and serve the spirits which it has manufactured.

With the exception of areas such as public roads, thoroughfares, driveways and parking lots, or in other areas that may raise public safety concerns, any area that is on or immediately adjacent to a manufacturing site and under the sole control of the manufacturer is eligible to be licensed as a premises for the sale, service and consumption of spirits under a By-the-Glass Endorsement. Guests are allowed to carry and consume spirits purchased under the By-the-Glass Endorsement or at the tied house on the production site in areas that are under the sole control of the manufacturer and covered by either the Liquor Sales Licence (for the tied house) or By-the-Glass Endorsement.

Note: A distillery production site may have both a Liquor Sales Licence for a tied house and a By-the-Glass Endorsement. Patrons are permitted to move freely between the licensed areas with their beverages. However, licensees must ensure adherence to rules regarding the permissible hours of sale for each licence type and other requirements relating to the sale and service of liquor at multiple premises.

Permissible hours under a By-the-Glass Endorsement may not be extended.

Sale of Spirits from a Retail Store

If a manufacturer has a retail store on the production site, the licensee may bring sealed, unopened liquor purchased from the retail store onto the licensed premises for the purposes of selling it to a patron. This allows patrons that wish to purchase product for personal use from the retail store to pay for the product on their bill in the licensed premises or by-the-glass area.

 

Applying for a By-the-Glass Endorsement

What supporting documents/information are needed to apply for a By-the-Glass Endorsement?

When applying for a By-the-Glass Endorsement via iAGCO, 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:

  • Site plan of the property: The site plan of the property must outline in red the area(s) in which the manufacturer is applying to have the sale, service and consumption of its product(s) take place. The area(s) must be under the sole control of the manufacturer and located on or immediately adjacent to the production site of the applicant.

  • Municipal resolution: Written notice from the council of the municipality within which the applicant’s production site is located confirming that it has passed a resolution in support of the issuance of the endorsement to the licence.

Transferring a Distillery Licence with a By-the-Glass Endorsement

An endorsement can only be transferred together with the licence to which it is attached. Transfers of By-the-Glass Endorsements will be processed at the same time as the corresponding Distillery Licence transfer application. Please see information above about transferring a Distillery Licence.

Renewing a By-the-Glass Endorsement

By-the-Glass Endorsements are valid for a period of two or four years and expire when the associated Manufacturer’s Licence expires or is terminated.

How do I apply?

Renewals of By-the-Glass Endorsements will be processed at the same time as the corresponding Manufacturer’s Licence renewal application which can be completed online through the iAGCO portal. Please see section on Renewing a Manufacturer’s Licence for instructions on completing the renewal application.

Temporary Extension of a By-the-Glass Area

Manufacturers who hold a By-the-Glass Endorsement may apply for a temporary extension of their licensed premises (for a special event or occasion) if the extension is adjacent to the areas under the By-the-Glass Endorsement.

Important Update: To support businesses as they work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and if permitted to open for on-site consumption, holders of a By-the-Glass Endorsement may temporarily extend or add a temporary physical extension of their licensed premises until 3:00 a.m. on January 1, 2023. For more information about the requirements please see the AGCO’s 2021-22 patio policy.

If eligible for the temporary extension noted above, the licensee is not required to submit an application to the AGCO or follow the process outlined below.

If you do not meet the 2021-2022 criteria and still wish to apply for a temporary extension, please see below for more information on how to apply.

Licensees holding a By-the-Glass Endorsement may submit an application to the AGCO through iAGCO to temporarily extend their existing licensed premises to an adjacent area (for instance to support a special event or occasion). The Registrar will consider temporary physical extensions and approve the duration of the temporary extension on a case-by-case basis. The application, including all supporting documentation, must be received thirty (30) days in advance of the temporary extension/event.

Section 4.1: Caterer’s Endorsement

Last Updated: 
2022-05-02

What is a Caterer’s Endorsement?

A Caterer’s Endorsement allows distilleries that hold a By-the-Glass Endorsement to sell and serve their products at catered events at locations away from the manufacturer’s licensed premises.

The sale and service of liquor under a Caterer’s Endorsement must be primarily aimed at promoting the licensee’s product and either providing an enhanced tourist experience or fulfilling an educational purpose.

Things to know before you apply

Eligibility Criteria

Only Ontario distilleries which hold a Distillery Licence and a By-the-Glass Endorsement are eligible for this endorsement.

Manufacturers that hold more than one by-the-glass endorsement must apply for a separate caterer’s endorsement for each by-the-glass endorsement.

Note:

  • A manufacturer may hold both a Caterer’s Endorsement to a Distillery Licence and a Caterer’s Endorsement to a Liquor Sales Licence (for a Tied House), but must comply with the requirements specific to each Caterer’s Endorsement.

  • For information about how to apply for a Liquor Sales Licence for a Tied House and associated endorsements, see the Liquor Sales Licence (Including Tied House) and Mini Bar Licence Guide Section 10.

Operational Restrictions

The holder of a Caterer’s Endorsement to a Distillery Licence may sell and serve their liquor at an event held on premises other than the premises to which the By-the-Glass Endorsement applies. A Special Occasion Permit is not required.

  • The catered event must be sponsored by someone other than the licence holder and may not be more than ten (10) days in duration.

  • Liquor cannot be offered for sale at a series of events sponsored by the same person if as a result of doing so, the licence holder is or appears to be operating an ongoing business with the sponsor.

  • The licence holder is not permitted to promote or invite persons to attend a catered event where the licence holder is offering liquor for sale.

  • Liquor may not be sold at events held in a residence.

  • The licensee:

  • shall ensure that the location of the catered event complies with the requirements for licensed premises

  • must post a Sandy’s Law warning sign at the event.

  • Liquor must be offered for sale and served at the event under the supervision of the licensee or an employee.

  • Liquor not sold during a catered event must be returned to the licence holder’s stock.

Note: The permissible hours for the sale and service of liquor under a Caterer’s Endorsement to a Manufacturer’s Licence are the same as for a By-the-Glass Endorsement.

Catering Notification

Catering notification requirements vary, depending on where the individual event is being held.

Areas under the exclusive control of the licence holder:

Notification of individual events is not required if the licence holder has given the AGCO prior notice (e.g. in the endorsement application) of its intention to cater an event held in an area under the exclusive control of the licence holder.

NOTE: AN AREA MAY BE CONSIDERED TO BE UNDER THE EXCLUSIVE CONTROL OF THE LICENCE HOLDER IF THE LICENCE HOLDER OWNS, RENTS OR LEASES THE AREA.

Areas not under the exclusive control of the licence holder:

Notification of an individual event is required if the event is being held in an area not under the exclusive control of the licence holder.

At least ten (10) days before a catered event begins, the licence holder with a Caterer’s Endorsement must provide the AGCO (via an iAGCO regulatory submission), the local police, fire, health and building departments with details concerning:

  • The nature of the event and the name of the sponsor

  • The address where the event will be held

  • The dates and hours during which the event will be held

  • The estimated attendance for the event

  • The boundaries of the area where liquor will be sold and served.

To notify the AGCO of your catering event, you must make a Regulatory Submission on the iAGCO online portal: 

  • Select Catering Notification - Licensee with By-the-Glass

  • Follow the steps as instructed. 

Note: You will be required to provide information on the person/entity sponsoring the event.  

Applying for a Caterer’s Endorsement

How do I apply? 

To apply for a Caterer’s Endorsement, you must add a secondary licence: 

  • In the iAGCO portal, a new secondary licence will be available for new, amendment, and renewal applications via “Add a Secondary”. 

  • Click on the button to Add Secondary.  

  • Select Caterer’s Endorsement - Licensee with By-the Glass

  • Follow the steps as instructed. 

What supporting documents/information are needed to apply online for a Caterer’s Endorsement?

When applying for a Caterers Endorsement via the iAGCO online portal, you will be asked to provide the following information as part of your application:

  • List of premise(s) to which the licence holder will be catering that are under the licensee’s exclusive control (if applicable).

Transferring a Distillery Licence with a Caterer’s Endorsement

An endorsement can only be transferred together with the licence to which it is attached. Transfers of Caterer’s Endorsements will be processed at the same time as the corresponding Distillery Licence transfer application. Please see information in Section 3 on how to transfer a Licence.

Renewing a Caterer’s Endorsement

Caterer’s Endorsements are valid for a period of two or four years and expire when the associated Manufacturer’s Licence expires or is terminated.

How do I apply?

Renewals of Caterer’s Endorsements will be processed at the same time as the corresponding Manufacturer’s Licence renewal application which can be completed online through the iAGCO portal. Please see information in Section 3 on Renewing a Manufacturer’s Licence for instructions on completing the renewal application.

Section 5: Liquor Sales Licence for a Tied House

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

A tied house is a restaurant/establishment located at the same municipal or property address of a distillery’s production site, where the manufacturer’s products may be “showcased” on their own or in conjunction with other brands and types of liquor. The licensed establishment is not required to sell a variety of brands of liquor but may do so if they choose. Please the Liquor Sales Licence (Including Tied House) and Mini Bar Licence Guide for information about how to apply for a Liquor Sales Licence for a tied house.

Sale of Spirits from a Retail Store

If a manufacturer has a retail store on the production site and there is a tied house that shares municipal or property address with the production site, the licensee may bring sealed, unopened liquor purchased from the retail store onto the licensed premises for the purposes of selling it to a patron. This allows restaurant patrons that wish to purchase product for future personal use from the retail store to pay for the product on their restaurant bill.

Note: A distillery production site may have both a Liquor Sales Licence for a tied house and a By-the-Glass Endorsement. Patrons are permitted to move freely between the licensed areas with their beverages. However, licensees must ensure adherence to rules regarding the permissible hours of sale for each licence type and other requirements relating to the sale and service of liquor at multiple premises.

See Hours for Sale, Service and Delivery of Liquor on the AGCO’s website.

Section 6: Distillery Retail Store Endorsement

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

What is a Distillery Retail Store Endorsement?

A Distillery Retail Store Endorsement authorizes a distillery to sell its spirits at any location on the licensee’s production site from a retail store on the production site.

To be eligible for a Distillery Retail Store Endorsement a distillery must hold a valid Manufacturer’s Licence – Distillery from the AGCO and the distillery must exercise substantial ownership and control over the production site where the retail store is located. Where the production site is owned and controlled by more than one licensed manufacturer, the brewery must demonstrate to the Registrar that it meets this requirement.

Where more than one retail store is located at the same production site, each licensed manufacturer must own and operate their own retail store and the store must be readily distinguishable from any other authorized retail store located at the same production site. Sales from more than one store may not be conducted in the same location.

A distillery may operate more than one distillery retail store, provided that each store is located at a production site of the manufacturer and the distillery holds a Distillery Retail Store Endorsement for each store. The spirits sold at each store must meet the criteria noted below.

Spirits that May Be Sold at the Retail Store

A distillery may only sell spirits at the distillery retail store if the following criteria are satisfied.

  1. At least 25 per cent of the volume of spirits sold each year must be manufactured, from start to finish, at the production site where the distillery retail store is located.

  2. At least 50 per cent of the volume of spirits sold each year must be manufactured, from start to finish, at a production site where one of the licensee’s distillery retail stores is located.

  3. The remaining volume of spirits sold each year must be distilled, blended, aged or bottled at a production site where one of the licensee’s distillery retail stores is located.

  4. The spirits must be brands that are owned by the licensee.

A distillery may sell spirits at a retail store that has been produced at another production site owned by the distillery, provided that the other production site also has a retail store and the criteria outlined above are satisfied.

The required production steps for specific types of spirits to meet the requirement that the spirits be manufactured, from start to finish, are set out in Appendix A.

Products Other Than Liquor Which May Be Sold

Manufacturers may sell some non-liquor products at a distillery retail store operated under a Distillery Retail Store Endorsement. The list of permissible items is set out in the standards and requirements established by the Registrar.

Things to know before applying

General Eligibility Criteria

Generally, in order to be eligible for a Distillery Retail Store Endorsement:

  • The applicant must be a distillery with a valid Distillery Licence issued by the Registrar.

  • The applicant must meet the requirements set out in the Liquor Licence and Control Act and its regulations.

Please note that the application process also includes a site inspection of the constructed retail store to confirm that all eligibility criteria and requirements have been met.

Please note that it is the responsibility of the holder of a retail store endorsement to ensure that it complies with all federal, provincial and municipal laws including municipal zoning by-laws/requirements.

Supporting documents

What supporting documents/information are needed for a Distillery Retail Store Endorsement application?

When applying for a Distillery Retail Store Endorsement via iAGCO, 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:

  • completed Municipal Information for a Retail Store 

  • site plan detailing the production site and the proposed retail store location

  • floor plan of the proposed retail store including square footage

  • supplementary documentation demonstrating substantial ownership and control of the production site (if ownership and control of the production site shared with any other licensed manufacturer)

 Renewing your Retail Store Endorsement

Retail Store Endorsements are valid for a period of two or four years and expire when the associated Manufacturer’s Licence expires or is terminated. As a courtesy, Manufacturer’s 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.

To ensure your Retail Store Endorsement and Manufacturer’s Licence remain valid, please see the section on “Renewing a Manufacturer’s Licence” for instructions on completing the renewal application.

Moving your distillery retail store to a new location

A distillery must notify the Registrar if it moves its distillery retail store to a new location on the same production site.

A distillery must apply for a new Distillery Retail Store Endorsement if it wants to move the distillery retail store to a different production site of the distillery, or if the distillery wants to move both the production site and the distillery retail store. Please note that the application process also includes a site inspection of the constructed retail store by an AGCO Compliance Official to confirm that all eligibility criteria and requirements have been met.

A distillery retail store cannot be moved to a location away from the distillery’s production site. It must remain located at a production site of the holder of the Retail Store Endorsement.

After the move, the distillery retail store must continue to operate in accordance with all the requirements for a Brewery Retail Store Endorsement, including the requirements noted above about the retail store location, production site and spirits that may be sold in the store.

Transferring your Distillery Retail Store Endorsement

A Distillery Retail Store Endorsement can only be transferred together with the Distillery Licence to which it is attached. Separate applications must be filed for the transfer of the Distillery Retail Store Endorsement and for the transfer of the Distillery Licence. These two applications will be reviewed concurrently.

Section 7: Temporary Extension Endorsement

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

What is a Temporary Extension Endorsement?

A Temporary Extension Endorsement allows distilleries that hold a Distillery Retail Store Endorsement to sell their eligible spirits at a temporary extension of their distillery retail store at:

  • A farmers’ market; and,

  • At an industry promotional event for which a Special Occasion Permit has been issued by the AGCO.

Under the Temporary Extension Endorsement, distilleries may:

  • sell at a particular farmers’ market for no more than 3 days in any given week;

  • sell at a particular industry promotional event for no more than 10 consecutive days at a time.

Any unsold product from a farmers’ market or industry promotional event must be returned to the licensee’s retail store within 72 hours from the time the farmers’ market closes or the industry promotional event ends.

Things to know before applying

General Eligibility Criteria
Distilleries that wish to participate in the program must:

  • have a valid AGCO Manufacturer’s Licence – Distillery 

  • operate a distillery retail store for which a Distillery Retail Store Endorsement has been issued

  • sell only eligible spirits at a farmers’ market or industry promotional event. Eligible spirits are those for which at least 50 per cent of the volume of spirits in the container holding them is made, from start to finish, at a production site in Ontario.

Notification to AGCO of planned sales at Farmers’ Markets or Industry Promotional Events

Distilleries with a Temporary Extension Endorsement must provide the AGCO with at least 10 days’ notice of planned sales at a Farmers’ Market (i.e. days of sale that have been confirmed with a Farmers’ Market) and at an Industry Promotional Event.

If the intended days of sale are cancelled or changed, please notify the AGCO at the earliest possible opportunity.

In the case of planned sales at an Industry Promotional Event, you will need to provide the number of the Special Occasion Permit that has been issued by the AGCO as part of the notification. The holder of the Permit may be a different person than the manufacturer selling under the Temporary Extension Endorsement.

There is no requirement for a Special Occasion Permit in conjunction with sales at a farmers’ market.

Notification to the AGCO of your planned sales can be submitted through the iAGCO portal.

The AGCO will notify you if any municipal objections have been received regarding any of the Farmers’ Markets or Industry Promotional Events where you intend to sell your eligible spirits.

Section 8: Delivery from Manufacturer Retail Stores

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

Manufacturers that hold a Retail Store Endorsement may sell products from their retail store for delivery to the public. Delivery may be conducted by the licensee, their employees, another AGCO-licensed manufacturer that holds a Delivery Endorsement, under a Liquor Delivery Licence or by a carrier, in accordance with the requirements in Regulations 745/21 and 746/21 under the Liquor Licence and Control Act and in the standards and requirements established by the Registrar.

Manufacturers may not use warehouses located away from their production site to service or fulfill deliveries to consumers for products sold from their retail store. Products sold for delivery to customers from a retail store must be delivered from that retail store.

Delivery by the Holder of Liquor Delivery Licence

Liquor sold at a distillery retail store may also be delivered by the holder of a Liquor Delivery Licence or its employees or contractors.

Distilleries may enter into a non-exclusive agreements with liquor delivery licensees to facilitate or promote the purchase and delivery of liquor from the distillery’s retail store. These agreements cannot restrict a liquor delivery licensee or manufacturer from entering into further agreements with other manufacturers.

Delivery by carrier

Distilleries may use a carrier to deliver spirits sold at the distillery retail store. The distillery must ensure the carrier complies with the conditions for delivery set out in Regulation 745/21.

Delivery Endorsement

A distillery that wishes to deliver liquor on behalf of another manufacturer from that manufacturer’s retail store, must apply for a Delivery Endorsement. A manufacturer does not require a Delivery Endorsement to deliver its products from its own retail store.

Delivery must be conducted in accordance with the requirements set out in Regulation 746/21 under the Liquor Licence and Control Act and in the standards and requirements established by the Registrar.

The manufacturer that holds the Delivery Endorsement is not required to operate a retail store, but products being delivered under the endorsement must be sold from a manufacturer’s retail store. With the endorsement, a manufacturer can deliver any type of liquor (i.e. beer, wine or spirits) that is sold at the retail store.

Eligibility Criteria

Only manufacturers that hold a Winery Licence, Brewery Licence or Distillery Licence are eligible for the Delivery Endorsement. Only one endorsement is required per manufacturer.

Appendix A: Required Manufacturing Steps from Start to Finish for Various Spirits and Spirit Products

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29
  Grain or
Juice
Handling
Fermenting* Distilling* Botanical
Infusion*
Maturing* Blending Filtering* Bottling
Vodka

X

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

Whiskey

X

X

X

 

X

X

 

X

Rum

X

X

X

 

 

X

X

X

Gin

X

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

Brandy

X

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

Liqueurs

X

X

X

 

 

X

X

X

Spirit
Coktails

X

X

X

 

 

X

X

X

Spirit
Coolers

X

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

* Must be carried out at the production site if it is a necessary step in making the products to be sold under the Distillery Retail Store Endorsement.