Congratulations on your move to Québec! Now it’s time for you to get to know your neighbours better, so why not invite them for dinner? The good old ‘wine and dine’ for a perfect social evening. But wait a moment…you find yourself at the supermarket shopping for the aforementioned meal, when you find that the only alcohol sold is low-alcoholic beverages like beer, and sometimes a small selection of cheap, poor-quality wines.
If you’re looking for a great bottle of wine in Québec, you’ll need to plan a visit to a SAQ store.
But what is La SAQ?
In Québec the SAQ (Société des Alcools du Québec) is the corporation that regulates alcohol importation and distribution. It is a provincial corporation owned by the government, which has a monopoly over the trade and sale of alcoholic beverages. Since the SAQ’s creation in 1921, the retail and distribution of wine and spirits has continued to be a critical issue.
Today, SAQ stores are spread throughout Québec 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 Québec city and one in Montréal)
- Depot (warehouse atmosphere; possible to bulk-buy alcoholic beverages)
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. SAQ stores typically open at 10/11am and close at 5/6pm.
Please drink responsibly.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia