Cyber Attack Leaves Beer Operations Across Canada Unable to Process Orders
The Beer Store and Brewers Distributor Ltd. have been the most recent victims of cyber hacks affecting their POS systems and online e-commerce pages. What does this mean for consumers?
By Clara Jaide on Apr. 14, 2020
Nearly 3 weeks ago, on March 25, 2020, Brewers Distributor Ltd., a private joint venture company owned by Molson and Labatt, fell victim to a cyber attack. Leaving the company unable to process orders, specifically in Alberta.
Brewers Distributor Ltd. Hack causes a shortage in select beer availability in Alberta liquor stores
Brewers Distributor Limited is one of the largest beer distributors in Alberta. The company is responsible for distributing beers such as Molson Canadian, Pilsner, Kokanee, Labatt and more. Like most merchants and distribution companies, Brewers Distributor Ltd. handles orders online via e-commerce transactions on its website. However, once the hack took place, this service was no longer getting through to the company.
“Normally the way it works is you place an order, you get an email confirmation, you pay for it the following day and you receive it the next business day,” Jim Pettinger, the manager of YEG Liquor on Kingsway Avenue in Edmonton told Global News. Pettinger recounts that despite paying for his order, he never received a confirmation email. When he contacted Brewers Distributor Ltd. to resolve the issue, he was told the company is currently taking orders via phone as the company was unable to access their computer system.
The company began taking smaller orders (maximum of 40 as opposed to the usual 200) which left liquor stores like YEG Liquor unable to provide their usual stock. Pettinger mentioned he was unable to order popular beers such as Brava, Miller Genuine Draft and Granville Island beers.
Hacks such as this one take place via e-commerce web pages in an attempt for hackers to gather the credit card information of unaware victims.
Will liquor stores run out of beer?
Liquor stores will not run out of beer; there is just a shortage in select beers until the hack is sorted. For the time being, it’s suggested that beer lovers purchase locally-brewed beer as they are distributed directly by the brewery.
Looking for local beer, but don’t know where to start?
Check out the JustBeer Beer Guides to find locally-made, craft beer in your city.
The Beer Store falls victim of cyber hack, unable to process POS purchases
24 hours after Brewers Distributor Ltd, The Beer Store fell victim to a POS hack that has affected many of its locations across Ontario. Whether these two hacks are connected remains a mystery.
Over night, we were subjected to a cyber attack and are following internal response protocols. Some of our locations are operating with cash only. We continue to implement physical distancing and are following all public health guidelines.
— The Beer Store (@TheBeerStoreON) March 26, 2020
The Beer Store hack has caused many of its locations to only be able to accept cash; no debit or credit transactions. This sparked concerns due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the push to enforce physical distancing measures. Many retailers have stopped cash transactions altogether to limit contact between customers and employees.
Fortunately, as of April 13, The Beer Store was able to get POS sales up and running at 16 of its stores across Ontario. A spokesperson for The Beer Store says that the company is hopeful that it will get the remaining 16 stores POS systems running by the end of the week.
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