• Deal part of biggest change in liquor sales since Prohibition
  • Beer to be sold in up to 450 grocery stores by May 2017

The largest brewers in Ontario have agreed to cap beer price increases to inflation for some of their most popular beers until May 2017, part of the biggest overhaul in alcohol retailing in the Canadian province since Prohibition was repealed almost 90 years ago.

Labatt Brewing Co., owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, Molson Coors, a unit of Molson Coors Brewing Co; and Sleeman Breweries Ltd., owned by Sapporo Holdings Ltd., agreed to the cap unless "there are material changes to the industry," according to details of the overhaul released by Premier Kathleen Wynne in Toronto on Wednesday. The three brewers own The Beer Store, the private chain that currently has a monopoly on selling beer in Ontario.

The Ontario government is overhauling the province’s retailing system to allow beer to be sold in as many as 450 grocery stores by May 2017, with the first 60 stores scheduled to start selling beer in December 2015.

The agreement also includes a minimum of 20 percent of shelf space for smaller brewers in The Beer Store.

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