Would you be willing to pay more for beer if you could buy it at a convenience store?

According to a new market survey conducted by Ipsos Reid, Ontarians could pay up to 51 per cent more for beer if the province privatized its liquor stores.

The study compared beer prices in three provinces where liquor is sold in privately operated retail locations and found the following:

  • B.C. beer prices were 45 to 51 per cent higher than Ontario
  • Alberta prices were 30 to 36 per cent higher
  • Quebec prices were 11 to 38 per cent higher

The percentage gap in Quebec’s prices is attributed to the fact that, on average, 12-packs and six-packs of beer are more expensive than 24-packs.

Currently, Ontarians pay on average $10.88 for a six-pack sold at the Beer Store. B.C. residents pay $16.12 for a six-pack sold at private stores, according to the survey.

The new research comes contrary to a study published by the Ontario Convenience Store Association on Monday suggesting private alcohol sales in Ontario would drive down prices.

Anindya Sen, the author of the study, told CTVNews.ca that enhanced competition would likely lead to lower alcohol prices and a broader base of customers.

The governing Liberals have opposed the idea of selling alcohol in convenience stores in the past but when asked about it on Wednesday, Finance Minister Charles Sousa did not rule out the option.

"It's prudent for us to always view opportunities should they be of net benefit to the province," Sousa told the Canadian Press.

Mac’s Convenience Store said it would create 1,600 full-time jobs if the province allowed consumers to purchase liquor from retail stores, according to the Canadian Press.

With files from The Canadian Press