Sask. grants wine franchise in Saskatoon

Vintners may soon have a new doorway into the Saskatoon market as the province’s Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) has granted one of two specialty wine franchises to a local businessman.

The successful applicant, Cameron Rizos, plans to operate a specialty wine store franchise in Saskatoon’s Riverside Market District.

“Today’s wine consumers are becoming more sophisticated and want new and different products,” Rizos said in a provincial release Tuesday. “I know Saskatoon and area wine lovers will be looking forward to the unique products that this new franchise will bring to the Saskatoon marketplace.”

The province in December issued a request for proposals (RFP) for one specialty wine store franchise each in Saskatoon and Regina.

The franchises are expected to complement SLGA’s 79 liquor stores, the province said at the time. Currently, consumers and operators of licensed establishments who want specialty wines not on SLGA’s lists have to place orders through SLGA’s special order desk, with a minimum order of one case and a delivery time of one to three months, depending on the country of origin.

The new wine store franchises will also order through SLGA’s special order desk, but will be able to sell to consumers by the bottle, rather than by the case.

Rizos, chosen through the RFP process conducted by Meyers Norris Penny for SLGA, already operates a business specializing in “wine education” and related products, the province said.

A final decision on the Regina RFP is also expected this spring.

Commission for the specialty wine franchises will be 15.3 per cent of purchases for resale, the same as existing liquor franchisees that sell beverage alcohol on behalf of SLGA in communities throughout rural Saskatchewan.

SLGA operates 79 public liquor stores and distributes to 185 private businesses that operate as SLGA liquor franchises, on top of about 450 private “off-sale” outlets (attached to “on-site” businesses such as hotels and brew pubs) that can sell beer, wine and spirits.

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