I am buying a round of beers for the lawyers. Said no one ever.

By Peter Janowski

The only instance I can think of when a client would buy a beer for a lawyer is if it were a highly specialized tax lawyer that just delivered some outstanding result.

I’m kidding. If that were the case, they would be having champagne, not beer.

I like beer. Good beer. German-Purity-Law-of-1516 beer.

At a recent trip to what once was the flagship and warehouse Beer Store in Niagara on Dieppe Road I was astonished to see how the Beer Store has diminished the availability of my favourite suds in their retail section.

For those of you who don’t often step into that outlet let me give you a brief history.

It used to be that you would enter to see an example of all the bottles of each of the brews available to you and there were hundred’s to choose from. You would step up to the register to order your beer and it would magically appear down a set of rollers from somewhere in the back.

Then they renovated the store. In the new configuration, they replaced the sample bottles out front with nicely printed cards of all the available brewskis and to create a “grab-and-go” section they placed 15 or 20 select beers on rollers of their own, which meant that the warehouse workers could be freed of running for beer all day long. At least for those brands that were out front.

In Ontario, forty-nine percent of the Beer Store is owned by the InBev of Belgium; forty-nine percent is owned by Molson Coors Brewing Company of Canada and the US; and the remaining two percent is owned by Sapporo of Japan. Can you guess what brands are most likely to be represented in those “grab-and-go” sections?***

At the renovated Beer Store I could still get a great selection of beer. I could stand idly in front of those printed cards on the wall and let my thoughts linger over which beer I would soon be exciting my palette with.

Now that the cards are gone, and replaced with touch screen terminals I am less generous with my praise for this archaic system of buying beer in my province.

First they download the warehouse workers job to the customer by installing self serve sections, then they download the cashier’s job to the customer. Or at lease that is what it appears to be on the surface.

In my opinion, what is really going on is that the three (foreign?) companies are diminishing the selection of beers available to benefit their own brands. If I know how to operate a touch screen, and if I know where in the interface my beer is and if I know what brand I came in for and if I know what size package I want (12 or 15, what’s the better value?) – Then I can select my purchase.

The BIG 3 are betting that it is all too much and I just buy Coors.

Well I say “NO!” and so should you. Don’t blindly drink whatever swill is meted out to you. Educate your palette. Boycott the handy packs.

The next time you are at the Dieppe Beer Store (or any store that has this configuration) walk right up to the cashier and ask “what’s on sale” then ask “what they have in 15 packs”, then “do you still carry Chimay” and finally as the line of thirsty beer drinkers gets longer and angrier behind you, and your expensive, locally-brewed, heavily-hopped India Pale Ale from the Teaching College is rolled out from some mysterious place in the back of the warehouse, ask for a carry out.

Thank you

*** For centuries lawyers had a lock on the administration of the law. If that age old tradition can be modernized with the advent of the paralegal in Ontario, surly we can do something about the Beer Store.

Glenlake Paralegal is not some high-volume producer of traffic act defences; we brew our solutions in small batches for the discerning customer.

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