BC Wine Law
BC’s Attorney General is currently reviewing a wide-ranging proposal to modernize BC’s liquor laws. The results could have profound impacts on wineries, brew pubs and distilleries. Parliamentary Secretary John Yap presented his report late last month. Cabinet is now considering major changes to bring BC Liquor Laws up to date.
Advocates of change say the current state of the law finds the wine bottle half full, and half empty.
Here is a quick review of what’s been done, and what various groups want to see changed.
- Buying a bottle at the corner store. Yap announced in October the government is committed to exploring the idea of selling alcohol at grocery stores. He says it was the number one issue brought up by British Columbians.
- Make it easier to get Special Occasion Licenses. Advocates want to reduce the bureaucracy, and also allow companies to get SOL’s for events like holiday parties.
- Standardize the liquor price markups with international standards. Have one wholesale price for all wholesale buyers.
- Expand farm gate sales. Allow wine sales at farmers markets, and allow ‘satellite tasting rooms’ away from the winery.
- Streamline the process to apply for liquor licenses. The current system is notoriously unwieldy and time consuming.
- Can you say 'Happy Hour'? Advocates call for 'variable pricing' for alcohol at restaurants, pubs and bars.
In February 2013 new legislation came in allowing the following:
- Catering companies can be transport alcohol and hold the liquor licence for events instead of requiring their clients to do so;
- Breweries and distilleries can have an on-site lounges or tasting rooms;
- Small- and medium-sized liquor manufacturers can have up to three off-site restaurant or lounge partnerships;
- Rules have been simplified around how liquor manufacturers can promote their products in bars and restaurants.