More expensive wines and spirits

The Société des alcools du Québec will increase, as of Sunday, the price of approximately 3,400 products on its shelves and sold online, has learned The newspaper. The increases will vary from a few cents to several dollars.

On August 4, the management communicated to the managers of its branches the changes that will have to be made to 3,753 wines and spirits. Note that the price of 353 products will be revised downwards.

The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) will increase the 1828 prices of its 2,798 continuous supply current and specialty products offered in its stores and on its site. These are the most popular wines with consumers.

The average increase will be $ 0.42 (1.8%) for this product category. The cost for 44 wines and spirits will also be revised downwards.

“This is one of the biggest increases in terms of the number of bottles I have seen in over ten years,” said a source.

Lovers of rarer wines will also see their bills jump. For wines and spirits purchased in batches, often one-off arrivals, the increase will affect 1,572 products and 309 will be revised downwards.

Each year, the SAQ does not take this category into account when revealing its price changes. According to an internal document sent to Journal, the entire increase affects 3,400 products.

Postponement of several months

In the spring, in particular because of the impacts of COVID-19 on consumers’ wallets, the SAQ chose to postpone its rate increases for several months. The state-owned company claims to have absorbed $ 1.2 million since April related to the change in the excise tax.

Since 2017, the SAQ has authorized its suppliers to increase their prices in May and November. As for decreases, they are allowed 11 times.

In June, President and CEO Catherine Dagenais confirmed that her organization would increase its prices in August.

One hike

She also clarified that the state-owned company was planning only one increase in 2020.

The SAQ attributes these variations to the annual increase in federal excise duty rates, fluctuations in euro and US dollar exchange rates and requests for modifications from suppliers.

Management assures us that it negotiates as closely as possible with its business partners in order to “offer the lowest prices in Canada”.


According to the editor of the site, Marc André Gagnon, it is illogical to see so many products affected by an increase, while several producers around the world are seeking to sell their inventory which has been battered by the pandemic and the closure of restaurants.

“It’s a lot of products. […] There is a surplus of wine all over the world. Normally, if we weren’t in a monopoly situation, prices would probably drop, ”he says.

During the 2019-2020 fiscal year, sales to the SAQ amounted to $ 3.489 billion (+ 5.9%).

Last week, The newspaper revealed that the Crown corporation would pay $ 9.88 million in bonuses to its employees and executives for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Of this amount, executives and non-unionized staff will receive $ 7.63 million.

In order to inform consumers about the new price variations, the SAQ plans to put a link on its website concerning the negotiation process with its suppliers:

1 thought on “More expensive wines and spirits”

  1. For being an importer, the SAQ ajust the euro variation once a year, usually at an higher exchange rate than noted on markets, and will profit on them when they get.lower thorought the year, while charging importers and customers as if it was higher.

    Also, when offering products for continuous placement, the importer or the producer has to absorb discounts and reduction – The SAQ never lose money.

    Also, lets remind that last year the VP of HR had a 500,000$+ leave bonus at the ripe age of 50-something.

    THIS IS YOUR MONEY, YOUR TAXES! Saq like to say they are the cheaper in Canada, but Alberta has better prices (No Monopoly), quite equivalent to Ontario, but LCBO supports their local producers better.



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