NSLC may offer home booze delivery later this year

·2 min read
The latest earnings report from the NLSC shows a big jump in cannabis sales as well as an increase in alcohol sales.
The latest earnings report from the NLSC shows a big jump in cannabis sales as well as an increase in alcohol sales.

(Brett Ruskin/CBC - image credit)

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation may offer home delivery for alcohol this spring or summer.

Beverly Ware, spokesperson for the Crown corporation, said responses to a recent tender are being evaluated based on responsible delivery and consistent service provincewide.

"It's quite different to be able to offer home delivery in downtown [Halifax] than it sort of is in rural areas of Cape Breton," Ware said in an interview.

"So we want to be sure that this is a service that can be offered fairly across the province and that it can be done cost effectively."

An evolution of retail

Home delivery of alcohol in Nova Scotia is nothing new.

Most breweries and wineries in the province that weren't already doing it brought in some type of service as the COVID-19 pandemic set in and sales in more traditional sites, such as bars and restaurants, declined due to public health restrictions.

Health Minister Leo Glavine has previously expressed concerns about the NSLC getting into alcohol home delivery.

Mickey MacDonald has operated Harvest Beer Wine Spirits, a private home delivery service, since 2010. He said it's a natural evolution of retail and he has no concerns about the NSLC potentially entering the market.

"I don't own the market," he said. "Come on in, the water's fine."

On Tuesday, the NSLC also released its revenue report for the third quarter.

Cannabis sales see big increase

Beverage alcohol sales were up 11.7 per cent from the end of September to the end of December, compared to the same period the year before, something the NSLC is attributing to public health restrictions at bars and restaurants.

Cannabis sales, meanwhile, saw a major increase, with sales jumping 27.5 per cent to $22.2 million for the three-month period.

Ware said the increase is driven by the addition of new outlets, home delivery, price-per-gram reductions in the last year, and reliable availability of product.

In the early days of legalized sales in Nova Scotia, the NSLC struggled to keep some products in stock or even having access to other products people wanted.

"It's been sort of that ongoing maturing of the industry," said Ware.

"The big factor for us was that we are now able to consistently supply customers with the product that they're looking for."