Here’s what we can’t do, read below to see what we can do.

Your favourite local restaurants need your help. This week Drink Up! is Ontario centric but the same is true internationally, our local hospitality industry is in crisis mode and needs our help to survive. 

Back in the early summer, our provincial government enacted changes to our liquor laws with the hopes of helping our hospitality industry. The concept was simple, permit alcohol to be sold in addition to food items as an add on. The messaging behind this initiative is not getting out. This change to legislation is set to expire on Dec 31st and, while it may not be the solution that our hospitality industry needs, right now it’s a tool that we can use to help our favourite restaurants.

Many of us have our favourite places and wine people who work there, that Somm or restaurateur who brings you your favourite wine or perhaps makes a wine suggestion that you may not have tried but because they know your tastes they think that you’d love. These wine lists and programs are an investment on the part of the restauranteur to enhance your experience. Carefully curated and crafted, there are now many great wines currently lying in wait for someone to come and enjoy them. With many great places under lockdown and others operating under more limited seating, the onus falls upon us the consumer, customer to be buying those great wines as an add-on to our food order. 

Skip the LCBO and head to your favourite restaurant for you wine, beer and cider purchases. This simple change will help our hospitality industry.

Now I’m not naive. I realize that this suggestion is like trying to staunch haemorrhaging blood flow with a Band-Aid instead of a tourniquet, sadly that’s what we currently have at our disposal so we need to use it.  

There have been some great bottle shops popping up in and outside of Toronto. Perhaps you’re like me and live in a neighbourhood without one. Please contact your favourite restaurant to see what they have on offer. Trust me your favourite haunt would love to hear from you.

Many restaurants carry wines that are not on the shelves of the LCBO. You can stock up for yourself and also pick up a bottle or two for gifts. You can also contact me as I will gladly point you in the right direction.  

It’s the small changes in our behaviour that can produce great change. Please share this message as it seems to me many people outside of the hospitality industry are unaware of this opportunity. If you are aware of any hospitality fundraising campaigns please send them to me. I will happily post them on our social media.


I’ve spent my life in the hospitality industry, leaving restaurants in 2015 and starting a wine agency and personal private client stocking service in 2016