Catering companies in B.C. can now obtain a licence to serve alcohol, a change the provincial government says will make it easier to serve liquor at special events.
Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for provincial liquor regulation, said the new rules are in effect as of today (February 6).
“Caterers can now apply to get a liquor licence for their operation to fully meet the food and beverage needs of their clients,” Coleman said during an announcement in Vancouver.
“This is going to change this portion of the hospitality industry quite a bit,” he said.
Previously, event hosts had to meet a series of requirements under law in order to serve liquor. These included obtaining a special occasion licence, taking a course on serving alcohol, and accepting liability for any liquor service.
Under the new rules, licensed catering companies can take on those responsibilities in addition to serving food.
Mark von Schellwitz, a Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association spokesperson, called the new regulations “common-sense”.
“Obviously, being able to add liquor into what they’re offering as far as their food is something that both their customers have been asking for and I know the industry’s been asking for,” von Schellwitz said during the announcement.
“Rather than having somebody have to go from a wedding party, for example, and go get a special occasion licence and worry about transporting liquor, why not have the catering company do that?”
The new rules also allow restaurants and other already-licensed establishments to serve liquor at off-site catered events. Coleman said changes to provincial liquor laws made last spring were required in order to bring in the new regulations.