Société des alcools du Québec


Société des alcools du Québec

Infobox_Company
company_name = Société des alcools du Québec
company_
company_type = Crown corporation
company_slogan = "none"
foundation = 1921
location = Montreal, Quebec
key_people = Philippe Duval, President & CEO
industry = Retail (Department & Discount)
num_employees = 3800, as of 2005
products = Liquor sales to both to consumers and to businesses
revenue = 2.4 billion CDN (2005)
homepage = [http://www.saq.com SAQ site] (webstore)

The Société des alcools du Québec (English: "Quebec Alcohol Corporation"), often abbreviated and referred to as SAQ, is a provincial Crown corporation in the Canadian province of Quebec.

Organization

The SAQ holds a monopoly over distribution of alcoholic beverages in Quebec. It acts as a wholesaler for wine and other low-alcohol-content beverages, which can be sold outside SAQ branches, usually in "dépanneurs" and grocery stores. Spirits and apéritifs can only be sold in SAQ stores.

The "Act respecting the Société des alcools du Québec" (R.S.Q. S-13)cite web
url =http://www.canlii.org/qc/laws/sta/s-13/20050211/whole.html
title =Société des alcools du Québec, An Act respecting
format =HTML
publisher=CanLII
accessdate =2006-06-04
] is the official piece of legislation governing the SAQ's operations and management. The sole share-holder is Her Majesty in Right of Quebec, representative of the Quebec state, to which approximately 500 million CAD in dividends are distributed each year.

The "Société des alcools du Québec" headquarters is located in Montreal and had sales of $2.4 billion in 2005.

Banners

The SAQ operates under five different banners throughout the province of Quebec:
* "SAQ Classique": varied selection, in towns and villages where there is only one SAQ branch
* "SAQ" Express: top-selling products, in large urban centres, extended business hours
* "SAQ Sélection": extended selection, professional service and counselling
* "SAQ" Signature: two exclusive stores in Montreal and Quebec City
* "SAQ Dépôt": warehouse-style stores, bottle-it-yourself, wholesale packages

The corporation also distributes its products through a webstore. A selection of wines and low-alcoholic-content beverages are also available in supermarkets.

Alcohol consumption in Quebec

As the provider of alcohol in Quebec, the SAQ's market data gives a quick overview of alcohol consumption in the province. In its 2005 annual reportcite web
url =http://www.saq.com/pls/devsaq/generator.pp_afficher_page?P_iden_tran=25059826&P_modi_url=0604093413&P_nom_page=info_saq_rapp_annu.saq&P_tab_para=VIDE!VIDE#DIRECTION
title =Annual Report
format =PDF
publisher=SAQ
accessdate =2006-06-04
] , the Corporation confirms 66.3% of sales were table wines. The remainder is shared among various products: 15.7% were spirits, 8.9% refreshing beverages (such as coolers and sangría), 5.4% special occasion beverages (includes champagne, rosé wine and Port) and 2.9% apéritifs (such as vermouth and Pastis). Note that beer does not appear within this data as most beer sales are outside the SAQ's monopoly.

The report also includes Statistics Canada data comparing alcohol consumption in Canada. Quebec falls in second place in both wine (17.4 litres per person per year) and beer (93.9 litres) consumption, behind the Yukon territory. On the flip side, Quebec is last (12th) in spirits consumption (with 4.1 liters on average).

Legal drinking age

The legal drinking age is 18 in Quebec [ [http://www.ccsa.ca/CCSA/EN/Topics/Legislation/LegalDrinkingAgeByProvCan.htm CCSA - Legal Drinking Age by Province, in Canada ] ] and there are restrictions as to who can purchase alcoholic beverages (R.S.Q. I-8.1)cite web
url =http://www.canlii.org/qc/laws/sta/i-8.1/20040323/whole.html
title =Offenses relating to alcoholic beverages, An Act respecting
format =HTML
publisher=CanLII
accessdate =2006-06-04
] . The legal age for the purchase of alcoholic beverages is 18 years. By law, SAQ stores cannot sell alcohol to minors or adults intent on distributing to minors (including the holders of parental authority). Nonetheless, underage persons are not restricted from SAQ stores. Official policy is to ask for photo identification to any customer who looks under 25.

Holiday-season strike of 2004

On 19 November 2004, the Corporation's 3800 employees went on strikecite web
url =http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Index/nouvelles/200411/19/009-SAQ-vendredi-update.shtml
title =La SAQ en grève générale illimitée
format =HTML
publisher=Société Radio-Canada
accessdate =2006-06-04
] . They were protesting because their contract had expired two years prior and negotiations on its renewal weren't making any progress. Trade unions were concerned by the work schedules, the status of part-time and temporary employees and the spectre of privatization.

In the first month or so the strike went mostly unnoticed but as the holiday season kept approaching, many Quebecers wished the unions would strike a deal with SAQ executives. In fact they did not and the strike went on until 11 February 2005. On that day SAQ stores reopened their doors after the employees voted in favour of the union-negotiated deal. The new contract included pay increases and the creation of 250 new full-time jobscite web
url =http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Index/nouvelles/200502/11/002-saq-ouverture.shtml
title =La SAQ rouvre ses magasins
format =HTML
publisher=Société Radio-Canada
accessdate =2006-06-04
] .

Price-fixing scandal

In January 2006, SAQ President & CEO Sylvain Toutant admitted the corporation had asked European suppliers to increase their prices in order to avoid a drop in revenues

cite web
url =http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/story.html?id=0b2a8099-11d8-42c7-8f8c-283584c4d2c1&k=8578
title =SAQ admits price-fixing scheme
format =HTML
publisher=The Montreal Gazette
accessdate =2006-06-04
] . This was concomitant with the falling value of the Euro in relation to the Canadian dollar. A drop in wholesale prices would have mandated lower retail prices. Both vice-presidents involved in the affair left the SAQ soon thereafter. The scandal ensued public outcry and renewed calls for the privatization of the crown corporation. The Minister of Finance, Michel Audet, rejected calls for privatization but agreed to launch an investigation into the SAQ's commercial practices and the behaviour of its board members.

election

There is a noticeable difference in the selection of products available at SAQ stores compared to other provincial liquor monopolies. Difference between provincial liquor monopolies selection are expected since the market is different from one province to the other.

ee also

*Pied-du-Courant Prison - former prison which houses offices of the SAQ

References

External links

* [http://www.saq.com Official SAQ website]


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