B.C. government eyes liquor sales in grocery stores

Many British Columbians would like to be able to buy booze at the grocery store.


Should B.C. allow liquor sales in grocery stores?

Yes, please 78%
142 votes
No way 21%
38 votes
Ask me later 2%
3 votes

That's one of the most popular ideas under consideration by the B.C. Liquor Policy Review, which is accepting input until November 1. So, the provincial government has announced it will examine ways to allow grocery stores to sell liquor.

"I've heard strong support for liquor sales in grocery stores and the added convenience it would afford B.C. families. There's no doubt this would be a big shift in our province - so we will be taking a thoughtful approach and carefully considering which model could work best for B.C., while taking into account all the concerns we've heard about the dangers of increased access to minors. We must also balance health and public safety with any improvement to convenience, should we proceed in this direction," John Yap, parliamentary secretary for liquor policy reform, said in a news release issued today (October 29).

Yap, who is leading the review of B.C.'s liquor laws, is expected to file his final report on November 25. 

Other topics provoking discussion during the review include permitting craft beer and wine sales at farmers markets, streamlining the application process for special occasion licences, and allowing parents to take their kids with them to pubs and legions.

Today's news release describes some ways the province could implement liquor sales in grocery stores. "Several other Canadian provinces have models that B.C. will consider. For example, in Quebec, grocery stores can sell domestic and imported beer, as well as Quebec-bottled wine. Other models include Nova Scotia, where provincial liquor authorities have opened government liquor stores within grocery stores - a so- called 'store within a store'. In Ontario, some Ontario wineries are allowed to sell their wine either in freestanding stores or a store within a grocery store or other host retailer," the release states.

"To balance some concerns heard from health and safety advocates about the number of retail outlets, consideration also will be given to maintaining the current cap on the overall number of retail liquor outlets. This could mean allowing current Licensee Retail Stores (LRS) and/or Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) stores to operate within grocery stores."

B.C. already has 221 rural agency stores, which are grocery stores that are allowed to sell liquor because they serve communities without a B.C. Liquor Store or private liquor store.

Comments (16) Add New Comment
All those namby pamby health and safety advocates should just stick a sock in it and get on with modernizing our archaic liquor laws instead of coddling people just because there might be the odd troublemaker. We're adults. Deal with it!
Rating: +21
Vern Schmuland
It is long overdue , the sale of liquor in stores is ok their are many examples of this in Canada, BC and the USA. Their is no more concern with theses type of sales than sales at a liquor store.Also having your family be part of a evening where liquor is served is ok why do we try to protect every eventual issue . Their is more issues and heavy drinking in peoples residences. We need to change the control to people not GOVT . Lets just do it and move forward to modern times. Thank you
Rating: +6
This happens in many, many places successfully. BC seriously needs to get out of the dark ages with this. For example pairing a craft beer with my dinner groceries when at Whole Foods in Oregon or California etc. is VERY civilized and great for the customer. Sure, this will anger a few existing liquor license holders (who probably had to jump through several flaming hoops to get it), but that's the price of progress.
Rating: +9
James Blatchford
Some people have an odd notion of progress....wine next to the rutabagas isn't high on my list. How about a comprehensive plan for transit?
Rating: -8
Kit Moffat
Get with the program. It is time to modernize B.C. with most of the rest of the world. If people want to get alcohol they will get it no matter where.
Rating: -3
If it was up to me,I would let liquor sales go wide open to the private sector but keep distribution in the bcldb.
Rating: -3
That they have to review/consider sales at grocery stores is pure idiotic ridiculousness. At 45, I am tired of going to other countries and being treated like an adult, but as soon as I get home my gov't dictates that I can't get a beer at the store, have a glass of wine at the beach and that I have to drive 5 miles on a Sunday to get a beer from an open liquor store. Please. Canadians need to travel to find out how ass backwards our country really is. I'd love to see a story on how antiquated our banking system is next.
Rating: +2
James M James
I'm more interested in BYOB in restaurants. This common in many places. You pay a 'corkage fee' to bring in your own wine (or beer) - the restaurant supplies the glasses.
Where BC really needs modernisation is allowing families to go to pubs together. It is asinine to prevent new-born babies in a pub simply because they are under age!
Rating: -7
T.J Silverspoon
I enjoy getting shitfaced as much as the next person, It's not really that big of an inconvenience to go to a liquor store or a Beer and Wine Store to get a bottle of wine. Really, why do I need to buy a bottle at 7-11 at 4 am! I suppose it would be good for making a bootleg buck off some minors. A little extra income for drug addicts and criminal types. Doesn't alcohol create enough misery in our culture. I can see a point to allowing legalization of marijuana for recreational use long before I can see booze in corner stores. Drunken assholes kill others in MVA every day, how many pot smokers have MVA and kill others! Oh, maybe none or close to it. But lets make it convenient for assholes to get booze. SMART REAL SMART! This would not be high on my priority list. I smoke cigarettes and they have to be hidden behind closed doors in stores because they kill. So what about booze in stores are they going to hide it. Fuck no, it will be the main display in the coolers and on the shelves with colorful advertizing all over the store. Is drinking not a cause of many deaths, misery from domestic violence, disease and more. Think this one out people! Just because it is socially accepted does that make it alright! Get that bottle of Jack and pour me another one!
Rating: -1
Yes, I have lived in Europe and it is so convenient to pick up your wine for dinner with your groceries. I think beer, coolers and wine should be in stores not hard liquor.
Rating: +10
I haven't been back to the liquor law update website since it launched, but I wonder if people are talking about pricing? I know in BC and Canada in general, the cost of booze is kept artificially high because (in part) of some belief that it will discourage drinking. I can buy a decent bottle of wine for $5 in the States and a couple of Euros in France, why can't we be trusted with that pricing here?
Rating: -28
As an alcoholic I can't wait until this is implemented. When you drink as much as I do, it gets to be a pain having to drive to the liquor store so often. Now I'll just have to stumble across the street to the corner store. Heavy drinkers applaud the direction this is heading.
Rating: -5
I can not help but think of my sister, who is an alcoholic. If alcohol is in grocery stores it will just make her life more difficult.
Also, is there going to be someone in the grocery stores who knows about wines.
Rating: -10
John Vielvoye
In order to improve farm income; provide economic diversification for farms; increase tourism at the farm consider approval for large sales outlets, such as large farm operated fruit outlets (e.g. 1500 square feet or larger) to sell wine made from their own grapes or from other fruit for them by existing wineries.
Rating: -2
Aaron Chand
i think they should they do it in Qubec and the UK
why not here are government needs to stop treating us
like kids
Rating: -4
Steven Adams
Less overhead for the govt (no high union wages at BCLC stores), same tax revenue, money from surplus assets and land as stores are sold off, more convenient for folk shopping in the supermarket. What are the downsides? I see none!
Rating: +7
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