B.C. government backs 12 liquor policy changes

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      B.C. premier Christy Clark has announced her government's support for 12 liquor policy changes.

      Those reforms were recommended by B.C. Liberal MLA John Yap, who led the government's recent liquor policy review.

      None of the supported proposals relate to the selling of alcohol in grocery stores, which received a lot of attention during the public consultation.

      "We promised to bring British Columbia's liquor laws into the 21st century - to give consumers more choice, give B.C. businesses more opportunities to grow, while ensuring health and safety," Clark said in a news release today (December 11). "These changes are a step towards that."

      According to the release, the B.C. Liberal government is throwing its support behind the following recommendations:

      * The Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) should improve its marketing of B.C. liquor products in stores, developing new opportunities for product placement and innovative promotional and educational materials.

      * Government should work with industry and tourism associations to develop promotional materials such as maps, apps and brochures on B.C. wineries, breweries and distilleries.

      * Government should work with other Canadian wine-producing jurisdictions to jointly develop thematic wine promotions in each jurisdiction's liquor stores to promote Canadian wine.

      * Government should discuss establishing a quality assurance program for B.C. craft beer and artisan-distilled spirits (similar to the VQA wine program).

      * Manufacturers should be able to establish low-risk tasting venues such as a picnic area as part of their existing licence without the need to apply for a specific endorsement. Government should work with industry, local government and First Nations to increase flexibility for tasting options for manufacturers while being sensitive to potential negative impacts, such as noise, on the community.

      * Allow manufacturers to offer patrons liquor that was not produced on site (e.g., a winery could sell a beer to a visitor).

      * Government should consult with the Agricultural Land Commission about amending the Agricultural Land Commission Act regulations to allow manufacturers operating within the Agricultural Land Reserve to allow more people in consumption areas (e.g. lounges) and to sell liquor that was not produced on site.

      * Government should consult with industry and review the minimum requirements to obtain a brewery, winery or distillery licence. Government should also consider how these requirements are regulated by LCLB and LDB to ensure transparency and an effective regulatory system.

      * Government should permit B.C. liquor manufacturers to offer products for sample and sale at temporary off-site retail locations (e.g., farmers' markets), with appropriate conditions. The decision about whether to allow vintners, brewers and distillers to showcase their products at a particular location will be left to the location management (e.g., farmers' market association).

      * Allow patrons to buy bottles of liquor to take home that are showcased at festivals or competitions. Consider amending SOLs issued to festivals and competitions, or allow BC Liquor or private retail stores to operate a temporary store on site as the means to provide for these sales.

      * Allow manufacturers to have off-site locations where they can sample and sell their products to the public (e.g., permanent tasting rooms in a downtown store).

      * Provide a more streamlined and time-sensitive application process to allow facilities such as ski hills and golf courses to temporarily extend their licensed area to another part of the property (e.g., a patio near a ski-hill gondola lift or a temporary patio near a golf clubhouse).

      B.C. is home to 269 wineries, 76 breweries, and 27 distilleries, according to the government.

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      Dec 11, 2013 at 2:57pm

      Wow! All that for nothing. Fucking idiots...


      Dec 11, 2013 at 5:45pm

      Where is the stuff that will benefit consumers... this just benefits producers. Lets get booze in the grocery stores now!


      Dec 11, 2013 at 8:40pm

      Is this the way the government listens to the public? We want liquor in our grocery stores and there's nothing said of that!!!

      Julia Reed

      Dec 11, 2013 at 8:40pm

      So what about small venues that want a special occasion licence and can't get one. That also promote local wineries and local beer and cider.


      Dec 11, 2013 at 9:54pm

      Grocery store beer will only be Budweiser and Canadian... Pass... They both taste like shit and they're owned by multi-national corporate conglomerates...


      Dec 12, 2013 at 2:08am

      So fuck all for consumers and more pay offs for the industry.
      This country is a joke.

      Johnny Wishbone

      Dec 12, 2013 at 6:45am

      I will be spending my tourist dollars elsewhere from idiotically regulated BC. Even Washington State has far better wine etc choices with far more available. The ferry fares are not a total rip off like in BC too. Check the line ups at the border. People are going south to enjoy themselves. Shopping is only part of the allure.

      BC is a beautiful province regulated by a parasitic class. In the end, the parasite always kills the host.


      Dec 12, 2013 at 7:15am

      How about we start with cold beer and wine in Liquor stores and work up from there.


      Dec 12, 2013 at 7:29am

      I kept reading in case they got it wrong, there might acutally be a policy that would bring BC into the 21st century on liquor policy. Apparently however, the late seventies of the last century as far as the government-that-only-won-by-not-losing could accomplish.

      Thank you for your wine, California

      Dec 12, 2013 at 7:56am

      You can clearly see the MLA, the Honourable John Yap who is responsible for these recommendations couldn't successfully operate a lemonade stand. With worthless recommendations like this BC should just totally forget about having a wine and beer industry. They are a joke anyway. Check out what Australia does in that area.

      It must have been time to slaughter the golden goose BC Liberal style. I thought this party was elected on the perception that they were "business minded". Oh just yet another bungled portfolio to help their "friends"

      The BC Liberals were talking about changing their name. Let's call the party the "BC Cross Boarder Holiday and Cheap US Gas Party. They're doing their best to encourage tourism in Wash, Oregon, and California. Say good bye to millions in tourism revenue sent away.