I was chatting to some friends this Saturday while waiting to climb into a dragon boat and paddle my way to a not-very-glorious result in the Nortel Ottawa Dragon Boat festival, when the subject of beer (always close to my heart) came up. I was reminiscing about how odd it seemed to us, when, fresh of the plane from England, we discovered that liquor retail was a state-owned monopoly in Ontario.
Being of a naturally small-c conservative disposition, at first the whole notion seemed vaguely wrong. Subsequently, I have come to accept and even admire the LCBO. They do a fine job of bringing a vast array of interesting products to us, at fairly competitive prices (being the largest purchaser of beverage alcohol in the world). Their staff are well trained and highly knowledgeable and their advertising material is a good read in its own right.
I had still been struggling with the notion of all this being state-owned, however, until this weekend, when it suddenly hit me: The LCBO is not a liquor retailer, but an insurance company. We drinkers are putting away a little hard-earned cash with the LCBO markup on every bottle. This cash finds its way through the Ontario government's bureaucracy and into the healthcare system.
Thus the more I drink, the more I am putting away towards the care of my own liver when it eventually begins to complain. I feel so good knowing that I am not drinking myself into being a burden on the taxpayer, I think I'll have another. Cheers.