WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Ontario government is encouraging people to shop local, including beverages.

To mark Ontario Craft Beer and Ontario Wine Week the province is encouraging shoppers to support local beverage alcohol producers in an effort to help the sector recover from COVID-19 impacts.

"Buying local not only supports Ontario's wineries, breweries, cideries, distilleries and other local producers, but it also means getting a quality product to enjoy responsibly," Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance said in a news release.

"Our alcohol sector told us they are being negatively impacted by the measures that have been necessary to contain COVID-19. That's why our government is taking steps to help these local businesses continue providing good jobs for people in Ontario and producing the products consumers enjoy."

Ontario is also working to expand made-in-Ontario options at the LCBO which would include increased marketing, making more products available, and allowing for shelf space to profile Ontario products.

The province says the initiative is part of a number of ways it plans to support Ontario’s beverage alcohol sector.

Other measures include:

  • Pausing increases to beer and wine taxes, previously scheduled to take effect in spring 2020;
  • Temporarily allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
  • Temporarily allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell spirits at a lower price with food takeout and delivery orders
  • Allowing restaurants and bars to temporarily create or extend outdoor patio spaces to safely accommodate patrons and staff once licensed establishments are permitted to reopen for business
  • Making it easier for cideries to sell directly to consumers by temporarily removing the requirement for cideries to have five acres of planted fruit to qualify for an on-site store
  • Extending the Ontario Wine and Grape Strategy to 2021-22, providing $7.5 million annually for VQA Support, $4.8 million annually for marketing and promotion, $250,000 for research and $250,000 for benchmarking
  • Extending the Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program to 2021-22, providing $2.6 million annually to help eligible businesses grow and scale up their operations.

"Our province is home to some of the best breweries and wineries in the world who produce top quality craft beers and world-class wines. Now more than ever, I encourage you to support Ontario's many great craft producers by choosing and responsibly enjoying local," said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Ontario Craft Beer Week and Ontario Wine Week runs from June 14-20.