Sales of Imaginary Beer Rise 67%

Mac's c-stores in Ontario ask customers, "What if you could buy beer here?"

TORONTO, Ont. -- Mac's Convenience Stores Inc. in Canada has rolled out a campaign that requires customers to use their imaginations. Launched at 60 Mac' s locations across Ontario, the "Free Our Beer" campaign features a large poster of an open fridge that appears to hold shelves of ice-cold beer. The poster asks: What if you could buy beer here?

The display helps customers imagine what it would be like to actually purchase beer at their neighborhood Mac's store. It also invites them to sign a "Free Our Beer" petition, which supports the call for alcohol products to be sold at c-stores in the province.

More than 300,000 Ontarians have already signed the "Free Our Beer" petition.

"The Mac's campaign is a fun, creative way of showing our customers what the inside of their Mac's store may well look like--perhaps not so long from now," said Tom Moher, vice president of operations at Mac's Convenience Stores Inc. "We can certainly foresee the day when beer, wine and spirits are sold at Mac's stores throughout the province."

Moher emphasized that "the people of Ontario want to be able to purchase alcohol products at their local convenience store. In fact, a survey by the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) indicates that 67% want that option."

In June, Mac's announced that it would create 1,600 new, full-time jobs if it could sell beer, wine and spirits at its 547 stores in Ontario. The employment estimate came shortly after the release of a study by the OCSA, which found that the government of Ontario would benefit from increased revenues if alcohol was permitted for sale in c-stores.

Currently, only two Mac's stores in the province--"agency" outlets in Craigleith and Thamesford--are permitted to sell alcohol products.

"This holiday weekend, our valued customers in Craigleith and Thamesford will be able to conveniently drop by their local Mac's store and pick up their beer, wine and spirits," said Moher. "The rest of us will just have to look forward to the day when we can."

Mac's is keen to build stores like Craigleith and Thamesford across the province.

"We're experienced, responsible retailers of alcohol products throughout Canada, the United States and the world," said Moher. "We're proud of our record, and our contributions to the communities we serve."

Currently, the company's CT division operates 665 corporate stores in Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador, which can sell beer.

The company also sells beer at 3,000 stores in the United States, and 1,400 in Europe.

Mac's Convenience Stores Inc. is part of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the leader in the Canadian convenience store industry. In North America, Couche-Tard is the second largest independent c-store operator in terms of number of stores. Couche-Tard currently operates a network of 5,906 convenience stores, 4,128 of which dispense motor fuel, located in 11 large geographic markets, including eight in the United States covering 43 states (under the Circle K brand), and three in Canada covering all 10 provinces (primarily under the Mac's and Couche-Tard brands). It employs 53,000 people throughout its retail convenience network and executive offices. Couche-Tard is a publicly-traded Canadian company with annual revenues of more than $15.9-billion.