Spirits up at Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission

by MM&D staff

EDMONTON, Alberta—Alberta is getting a new liquor DC.

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) has committed to spending a total of $80 million to construct a brand new warehouse in either Edmonton or St Albert (on the northwest outskirts of Edmonton). At present, the AGLC is in negotiations to purchase a suitable parcel of land.

Fifty-five million dollars is earmarked for the design and construction costs. The remaining $25 million will cover the cost of the property and other charges.

The facility, which will take three years to construct, is being designed with one purpose in mind: inventory consolidation.

“The current distribution infrastructure for spirits, wine and imported beer consists of four separate facilities. There is a main warehouse is St Albert, and also three storage warehouses in Edmonton that the warehouse operator is leasing to support the main warehouse infrastructure,” said Tatjana Laskovic, communications officer for the AGLC.

“Building the new warehouse lets us consolidate all that current distribution infrastructure into one large facility.”

Well, almost all of the inventory.

“The current main warehouse in St Albert would be retained and re-engineered to support the new facility and it would store slow-moving products,” said Laskovic.

The plan is to make the new DC 830,000sqf. Currently, AGLC has 550,000sqf to house over 33,000 registered products (with 19,000 typically being available at any given time).

“If you compare that to 1993—the time of our privatization—there were just over 2,000 liquor products,” said Laskovic.

Connect Logistics Services, which is headquartered in St Albert, operates the warehouses for AGLC, and that relationship is expected to remain intact.

“This current operator is expected to continue the operations to ensure there is stability in the supply while the current facility is in a transition. The liquor distribution contracts will be tendered once that facility is fully operational,” explained Laskovic, although an FAQ document about the new DC posted on the AGLC website states Connect Logistics “is expected to continue its operations once the new facility is built.”

The same FAQ offers as explanation about the business model.

“The AGLC will continue with the current system of having a single warehouse operator. Independent reviews…have confirmed this is an effective model that works best for Alberta’s privatized liquor industry.”

Although there aren’t any details available yet describing the equipment the AGLC intends to use in the new DC, the commission promises it will “incorporate state-of-the-art information systems and product handling techniques, which will provide the efficient flexibility required by the supply chain.”