There are a few exceptions – a handful of privately owned (and non regulated) wine and craft beer stores are dotted around the province, as well as the increasingly popular local Brewery stores.
Unlike the UK, alcohol is not available for sale in Nova Scotia supermarkets or corner shops. Prices are regulated and higher than UK prices, although the price you see is the price you pay (tax included).
So, how does Nova Scotia compare to other provinces in regulating its alcohol sales?
Ontario: I was quite surprised to discover that Ontario shoppers can now buy wine at 67 supermarkets as it joins beer and cider on grocery store shelves. The plan is to have wine in 300 of the province’s 1,500 grocery stores and beer in 450 by 2025.
British Columbia: Beer, wine and spirits are sold in provincially-owned and private liquor stores. Craft beer can be purchased at the brewery.
Alberta: Beer, wine and spirits are sold in privately-owned liquor stores.
Saskatchewan: Beer, wine and spirits are sold at provincially-owned liquor stores, rural franchises licensed by the government, and in three privately-owned stores.
Manitoba: There is a mix of government-run and private wine and beer stores. Hotels are allowed to sell beer as licensed vendors, similar to “off sales.”
Quebec: Beer and wine are sold in grocery stores and corner stores. Wine, spirits and select beer are sold in government-run outlets.
New Brunswick: Beer, wine and spirits are sold in provincially-owned liquor store outlets. A limited selection of wines is available at some grocery stores.
Prince Edward Island: Beer, wine and spirits are sold at provincially-owned liquor store outlets and a number of licensed agency stores.
Newfoundland and Labrador: Beer is available in various convenience stores. Liquor and beer are sold at provincially-owned liquor store outlets. Wine is only sold at provincially-owned liquor store outlets. Some of the most expensive prices in the country.
Here’s an example of price differences throughout the country:
A dozen beer is cheap in Ontario, but much more costly in the Atlantic region, including Newfoundland and Labrador. *B.C. price excludes tax and bottle deposit. (photo courtesy of CBC).
A bottle of Lindeman’s red wine will cost you more in Newfoundland than anywhere else in the country. *B.C. price excludes tax and bottle deposit. (Photo courtesy of CBC).
Alcohol prices are generally more expensive in the Atlantic provinces partly because of the higher taxes. Those Canadian provinces with a greater population have more buying power and able to negotiate better prices for the consumer.
Despite the restrictions and higher prices, it does not appear to deter Nova Scotians from buying alcohol. The NSLC is always a busy place to hang out 😉
As always, feel free to get in touch.
Have a great week!
Jane & Richard
Moving 2 Nova Scotia