B.C. government outlines plan for grocery store liquor sales

After announcing in 2013 that British Columbians may soon be able to buy alcohol with their groceries, the provincial government outlined today (March 6) its plan for grocery store liquor sales. The B.C. government is moving to implement a two-part model that will be in place by early 2015.

Photos

One model will operate as a store within a store, which will see both private and government liquor licenses transferred into grocery stores. Shoppers will be able to purchase wine, beer, and spirits at separate cashiers within the grocery store.

The second model will allow wines with Vintners Quality Alliance designation to be sold directly off store shelves and purchased at designated checkout tills. VQA is a regulatory system applied to wines made in B.C. and Ontario.

“Our province is well on its way to having a unique, two-part grocery model that aligns with modern expectations and will grow B.C.'s economy,” Liberal MLA John Yap, who is the parliamentary secretary for liquor policy reform, stated in a news release. “As we proceed with our balanced approach, we will continue to put a significant emphasis on protecting health and public safety with each one of these changes."

In addition, the B.C. government will develop a new wholesale pricing model for wine and spirits allocated by the Liquor Distribution Branch. This will ensure that the price that all liquor retailers pay is consistent across the province and a fair market for government and privately-owned liquor stores. 

Comments (17) Add New Comment
Rob W
First of all, it isn't "unique". It's the same thing as New Jersey does. And just because it's "unique" doesn't make it good. It's a dumb idea. I want to go through ONE till, not two. This is an idiotic idea from a government that only pays lip service to "free enterprise" but doesn't really believe in it.
87
47
Rating: +40
Michael
Ah, Baby steps I guess. Not that this will reduce prices or increase selection. As long as the Government uses liquor as a major revenue source and controls distribution we're still screwed. But at least they decided to put some new lipstick on that pig.
65
43
Rating: +22
Dan
After promising to modernize our liquor laws and then to adopt a very complex and expensive model for the sale of wine in grocery stores, very disappointing.
71
41
Rating: +30
Mark
Time to get the government completely out of the liquor business. BC is so far behind other provinces in terms of free market reforms that it's absolutely hilarious.

Alcohol should be sold just like it's sold in Alberta and the US. In the grocery stores, same tills, and with no government distribution center. Simply collect the taxes on the liquor and that's it.
65
31
Rating: +34
I'm a baby
Waa, waa, waa.

That is all.
33
53
Rating: -20
AC
Replace the trash mag displays with a few six-packs and your good to go.
35
34
Rating: +1
Scott M.
I find it funny that people are complaining about having two separate checkouts! So... the Government should just fire all checkout clerks who are ages 15-18 because they can't serve liquor OR that we should simply allow minors to sell alcohol when they can't drink it? Baby steps sure, but at least it's going in the right direction. Stop complaining. #rant
40
48
Rating: -8
VQA?
Only allowing VQA wines on the shelf is a joke. BCs are "ok", but way over priced. This is coming from someone that normally spends 50-100 per bottle. Its not that BC wines are expensive in general, its that they do not offer value when comparing them to Italian and French wines of the same dollar amount not to mention you have to pay shipping and import taxes to them them here.

Living in BC VQA wins should be cheaper for us, and not the only wines available in more convenient areas.

The idea of having to go through two till is idiotic.

Lets brake this down to what is really changing. I still have to wait in town lines and go through two tills as before. I still have to shop in two separate areas, but now i may not have to walk outside one building and into another to complete my transactions for the day.

How is this unique? How is this a step forward?
57
39
Rating: +18
cathy
Our local Save On is very quickly closing down its recycling Return It Centre.
Looks like it will become some kind of liquor store.
There is a Gov't. liquor store in the same mall-only a few stores down-usually no line ups, great service & knowledgable staff .
There is always line ups at the tills at Save On, so now you can wait and wait in two line ups and all of a sudden the cashier will become a wine/liquor expert?
This makes sense?

43
43
Rating: 0
Derek
Better throw in that worn-out BC Liberal "growing the economy" catchphrase...
43
53
Rating: -10
Gavin
Great. Just great. For every grocery store that adds a liquor section, a liquor store somewhere in British Columbia will have to close. Maybe the one with the knowledgeable staff big selection I shop at will be the one to close, in exchange for a half lane of cheap wine at Save-On.

Modernization of our archaic liquor laws is badly needed, but it has to be done right. These changes are making things worse, not better.
Rating: -88
Anonymooser
I want my alcohol and my government to be separate. I want to pay a good price for liquor, I want liquor prices to be competitive, I don't want hours of my salary going to pay for a single bottle of rum. I want my government in this corner (points at left), and I want my liquor in this corner (points to the right), and now let's build a big thick cement wall between the two so they never touch. F*** government meddling in my access to liquor and drugs. I already pay income tax, I pay sales tax, so keep your goddamn sticky fingers off my money. I think that at a certain age people should be barred from politics because you're so old you have absolutely no idea how to give people what they want. As people get older they just become shriveled up conservatives prunes, their assholes get so extremely tight they could shit a diamond, and they think that the whole community wants that extreme conservatism. I think this is bullshit. Enough with the taxes and the high prices. Stop punishing other people for your fundamentalist conservatism.
42
44
Rating: -2
Yank
Prices for alcohol are too high. Punishing the casual drinker to subsidize the health care system is unfair and illogical. Why not tax good behaviour? If your revenues are based upon the bad behaviour it is a vicious cycle. More revenue but more illness. Tax produce. People who eat it get healthy and it supports healthcare. Tax greek yogurt. Put a toll on the sea wall. Tax gyms. Tax coffee shops that use paper cups and pollute our city. Tax this newspaper for giving away free copies that wind up on the ground all over the place that our public servants have to pick up. Tax the cyclists. Reduce the tax on locally produced alcohol to support local industry.
41
39
Rating: +2
Fed Up
More nanny state BS from the patronizing and condescending know it all bureaucratic numbskull dipshit authoritarian losers. Thanks for more red tape and stickler BS. seperate chackouts. Roped off when the store opens at 7am. Children arent allowed. No wines from certain countries. God forbid i can buy a bottle of Vodka. What a fucking joke. There is a country of 340 million people about 30 miles south of you nazi know it all numbskulls that sells booze all over the place everywhere without nanny state work creation assheads sticking their nose in everyones business telling they know whats best for them. Canada is such a nanny state it makes me wretch.
35
32
Rating: +3
EG
It's truly amazing how badly the Libs have screwed this up. Let's keep the current mediocre system, not make it worse.
37
40
Rating: -3
Mike
Another screwed up plan - Liberals and Christy = clueless
34
35
Rating: -1
Kenobi
This isn't a plan meant to succeed. This is just regular Liberal games, which are an excuse to change the distribution model and commit to a retail failure in the supermarket model. Then they will admit to this disaster and sell the whole industry to their buddies, which is ultimately the plan from the get go.
34
30
Rating: +4
Add new comment
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.