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Sustainable development

The growing industry of local wines and spirits

More refined offerings, better marketing and customers looking to “drink local”: Quebec beverage alcohol products are popular for a reason. Vintners, distillers and cider makers are crafting excellent products in your own backyard. And the success they’re enjoying is a source of great pride.

Published on April 13, 2022
Icon QuébecIcon Québec

Drink local for the environment or for pleasure?

At the SAQ, the two aren’t mutually exclusive! While it’s true that drinking local is better for the environment, the success of local products isn’t an accident: their great quality and variety have won Quebecers’ hearts. 

Drawing on their know-how, passion and expertise, local beverage alcohol producers have created a dynamic industry full of potential.
But what, in concrete terms, are we doing to help them achieve it? 

Our support for local producers

Our role is to support the industry and ensure the development and marketing of local beverage alcohol products by working with winemakers, cider makers and distillers.

The goal? To support efforts to create quality products, make the tasty beverages available to the public and steadily increase their market share. 

Lilian Wolfelsberger
of Distillerie de Montréal

Distillerie de Montréal nabbed six medals at the prestigious Concours international des spiritueux in Brussels in 2021.

Lilian WolfelsbergerLilian Wolfelsberger

PLilian Wolfelsberger, artisan distiller and the distillery’s founder, is convinced that the SAQ’s support has been a factor in the operation’s success:

The SAQ is an ally that supports us in our adventure. First, the laboratory and its high quality standards push us to excel, to make the best possible spirits. This have led us to implement strict standards and protocols that make our spirits such as the Orange Électrique aperitif and the Rosemont White Rhum stand out and earn us major awards at international competitions. There’s a revolution in distilling underway here in Quebec and that’s partly due to the SAQ’s support for local products. It may be a major retailer but the SAQ has always succeeded in keeping its relations with us on a human scale. – Lilian Wolfelsberger

Christian DuboisChristian Dubois

Christian Dubois
of Domaine Côte de Champlain

For Christian Dubois, owner of the family-owned Côte de Champlain winery that produces, among others, the white wine Coquillages, the SAQ’s support allows him to do what he does best: tend to his vines.

 I have access to the most ‘expert’ lab on the planet and to the biggest truck fleet. My warehouse is bigger than any French winery’s. I have a sales strategy team that would be the envy of a major multinational. I have more than 400 points of sale across the province and some 5,000 employees vending my wine. That’s what having access to the SAQ means! The teams in place are really motivated to help us make the best possible product and offer it to Quebecers though the sales network.

Claudie Lamoureux
takes on the adventure of sparkling ciders

Claudie Lamoureux makes two brands of cider-based cooler – Spritzöl and Taïga Seltzer – both Origine Québec products.

Claudie LamoureuxClaudie Lamoureux

She worked closely with the SAQ’s Marketing and Merchandising team to bring the two products to market.

When we submitted the projects to the SAQ, the team was really there for us so we could get them onto store shelves fast, in time for the summer of 2020. And then, since customers really liked the Spritzöl, the SAQ suggested we look at creating a spritz at 0.5% alcohol in response to consumer demand.

It’s a rewarding partnership where everyone is open to developing unique local products for Quebec consumers. It takes a lot of effort to get a product into a retail chain. That’s where the SAQ makes all the difference. You can feel a real desire to help and support the Quebec beverage alcohol industry and encourage innovation, whatever the producer’s size.

Showcasing local talent

Because raising the profile and growing the reputation of local products is the name of the game, we also give producers access to programs and tools for showcasing their products.

We offer ongoing training to our employees about Quebec products so they can better advise customers. Also, we’re setting up trade missions in Canada and around the globe to access external expertise, find inspiration, learn new techniques and more.

Local producers are all committed to offering Quebecers the best of our terroir. Let's raise our glass to their creativity and expertise.

Feature image credit: Vignoble Rivière du Chêne © Marie Charest

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