Canadian Liquor Industry FAQs

New to the Canadian Liquor Industry? Here are a few common questions.

  1. What is a Product Code (CSPC/SKU/PLU) and why do I need it?
    The product code is a unique identifier for a particular product. It is distinct from the UPC or universal product code.

    In the liquor industry, this code is assigned by the provincial liquor board. It typically applies to liquor products only, but can sometimes be assigned to other products sold through the liquor board (wine openers, juice & other mixes, etc.)

    In the 1990s, the term CSPC or Canadian Standard Product Code was typically used. This fell out of favor and provincial liquor boards now create their own product codes independently of one another. Some products from this era might have the same product code across multiple provinces, however, newer products likely will not. You should never rely on product codes matching between provinces.

  2. Why does a store need to use the same codes as the government?

    GlobalTill's integrations depend on using standardized codes for the following:

    • Displaying relevant cost information, like the latest cost from the government liquor board

    • Importing and parsing supplier invoices, without an exact matching product code, GlobalTill will not know what the store is buying.

  3. How should products be named?

    Descriptive names are critical to the success of the retailer. Being able to quickly type and find a matching product is important both at the cash register and in the back office.

    Good and Bad Examples of Product Names: 

    Bad: Bud 24 pk
    Bad: J Lohr

    Good: Budweiser 24 Pack Cans
    Good: J Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon 750 mL


  4. But I put the size/color in the size/color field. Why does this need to be in the description, too?
    A lot of searching is done exclusively via the description/product code.  Adding the most detail offers the best end-user experience.

    When in doubt of what name to give a product, think of how a cashier might type something into the cash register.

  5. What is a UPC barcode?

    The universal product code or UPC barcode is the primary barcode that is on the bottle or box of the product being sold.

    UPC's must be unique inside a GlobalTill store.

    Despite the common notion that UPC codes are unique for a particular product, there are a variety of scenarios where they are not, even within the same province. For example, when a new agency takes over one product from another agency, the UPC will remain the same but the SKU or product code will change.
    There are also cases where products with different packaging and product codes or SKUs will have the same UPC.

  6. What do we do in these cases?

    The recommended option is to change the GlobalTill product code or SKU to match the product that is being sold, or the product that is replacing the previous version. This allows you to retain sales history even when the SKU changes.

    If you would like to identify two different products by the same SKU, we recommend placing a letter such as A, B, C, etc. after the UPC for uniqueness. When this item is scanned - it will prompt the cashier what product they wish to add to the invoice.

  7. What is an SCC code?

    The SCC is the shipping container code. It is the code commonly found on the external boxes or cases of products, not directly on the products themselves.

    Some liquor retailers sell wine & spirits by the cases and these codes can be configured to be scanned at full case quantities. For example, when you scan a case of wine, it can scan in as 12 bottles rather than 1.

  8. What are liquor suppliers?

    The provincial liquor board typically sells all alcoholic products directly, however, these orders can be fulfilled by different parties (for example Brewers Distributors Ltd., or BDL for short, sells on behalf of the AGLC).

  9. What supplier data does GlobalTill have? How is it used?

    GlobalTill currently maintains a database from the following suppliers:

    • Alberta Connect Logistics Services CLS (some domestic beer, all imported beer wine & spirits)

    • Alberta - Brewers Distributors Ltd BDL (domestic beer from select breweries)

    • BC - BC LDB (domestic and imported liquor products)

    • BC - Brewers Distributors Ltd (domestic and imported beer)

    We do NOT have data for:

    • Sleeman Breweries

    • Big Rock Brewery

    • Village Brewery

    • Other smaller & local breweries and distillers

  10. How is the data quality of the suppliers?

    Connect Logistics

    • Product Data: Reliable information

    • Completeness: Missing all allocated & special order items (this information is not published). Missing some older products prior to 2014 that are no longer available in the market.

    • Barcode Data: UPC codes are unreliable and incomplete. SCC codes are reliable and suitable for production use.

    • Units Per Case: Accurate for most products, not all.

    Brewers Distributors Ltd. (Alberta)

    • Product data: Reliable information but descriptions are bad and truncated

    • Completeness: Missing some special order products (particularly region specific items)

    • Barcode Data: Excellent, UPC codes are up to date and accurate. SCC codes are not in use.

    • Units Per Case: Information not made available.

  11. I have a new store, Can we just load all of the products?

    As a general practice, we do not do this for customers due to the variability in the product data available and the poor results we see. Store owners and managers end up frustrated when they cannot find products they are looking for, when the barcodes do not work, and when they have 20,000 products to sift through when searching.

    Stores with greater than 5,000 products also require a higher baseline level of performance on their cash register to support syncing activities (typically a 64-bit i5 or better with 8 GB of RAM or more).

    GlobalTill can offer a curated dataset suitable for use in new stores. This data is sourced from participating GlobalTill retailers and includes fully accurate product descriptions, barcodes and (optionally) images and long form product descriptions that have been verified by professionals in the liquor industry. At the time of writing this data covers approximately 80% of the needs of any given store.

  12. What is an allocated product (Alberta)?

    An allocated product is a product which is allocated to a specific liquor license. These products are not generally available and product data for them is not always published. These products may need to be manually added to GlobalTill before they can be used and before automatic importation can occur.

  13. What are the common deposits (Alberta)?
    • Containers 1 L or less, $0.10

    • Containers greater than 1 L, $0.25

    For example, a 12 pack of 355 mL cans of beer has a deposit of $1.20. A 750 mL bottle of wine has a deposit of $0.10. GlobalTill pre-loads stores with the most common deposit products - however, these do not always cover 100% of products.

    In GlobalTill, deposits must be added using the related product field and auto add related product must be checked off for each product.

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