What is “la SAQ”?

Published the Wednesday 10 July 2013 by at 13:54 in Cultural, Life style, Quebec city, | No comment .

Congratulations on your move to Quebec! Now it’s time for you to get to know your neighbours better. So why don’t you invite them for dinner?

Dine and wine, that’s always fine! But wait a moment… Here you are, at the supermarket and you realize they sell only low alcoholic beverages like beer, and sometimes also a small selection of rather cheap wines (cheap in quality, not for your wallet)…

But where can you find a nice bottle of wine in Quebec?

At the SAQ!

Photo credit: by Minoumi (Wikipedia)

In Quebec there is a corporation regulating alcohol importation and distribution, the SAQ (Société des Alcools du Québec). It is a provincial corporation owned by the government and it has a monopoly for the trade and sales of alcoholic beverages. Since the date of its creation in 1921, the retail and distribution of wine and spirits has always been a critical issue.

Today the SAQ stores are spread throughout Quebec and can be categorized as follows:

  • Classic (the standard and varied selection)
  • Express (mostly in downtown areas, with only the best selling products)
  • Selection (larger selection and professional consultation)
  • Signature (exclusive, top products; there are only two shops, one in Quebec city and one in Montreal)
  • Depot (warehouse atmosphere; possibility to buy alcoholic beverages in large amounts)
  • Webstore.

For your dinner party we advise you to have a look at their products on the SAQ webstore or to go directly to one of their shops. But be careful, the opening hours are much shorter than those of the supermarkets. Between 10/11am and 5/6pm you can be sure to find an open store!

Please drink responsibly.

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