Restaurants stock up on alcohol in anticipation of SAQ workers’ strike

Restaurants stock up on alcohol in anticipation of SAQ workers’ strike

By Michael Boriero

With the looming threat of another Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) warehouse and delivery worker strike, restaurants are starting to stockpile cases of wine in order to meet high demands during the holiday season.

CUPE, the union representing the 800 SAQ warehouse and delivery workers, presented an agreement in principle last week. It was promptly rejected, though, and now the workers are deliberating whether they will go back on strike for the month of December.

Restaurant owners, however, caught wind of the workers’ displeasure with the proposed offer, pushing them to make bulk orders to avoid running out of stock. Simon Proulx, the owner of Minton in Hatley, made a large alcohol order prior to the holiday season.

“I made a big order just before Christmas time, and I had all my products come in, so I have not been affected by the strike so far, but I can understand certain restaurants have been affected by that, for sure,” said Proulx.

There aren’t a lot of options for restaurant owners in the Eastern Townships. They get the majority of their wine from the warehouses in Montreal. And if warehouse and delivery workers are on strike, then that means there isn’t any product heading to the region.

The supply chain problems this year has taught Proulx to think ahead, though. Everything is in shortage, he explained, which forced him to reach out to suppliers in advance and ask them to put products aside. He was preparing for when they would inevitably run out of stock.

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