B.C. updates liquor pricing on pitchers of beer and cider

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      A month after introducing happy hour in B.C., the provincial government has updated minimum prices on certain alcoholic beverages. In an announcement today (July 25), John Yap, who is the parliamentary secretary for liquor policy reform, stated that new pricing better reflects customer expectations.

      “The B.C. Liquor Policy Review has been centred on listening to the views of British Columbians and industry stakeholders, and best aligning any changes we make with their views,” Yap said. “We took action to find a fair compromise that still upholds B.C.’s high standards for health and safety.”

      Happy hour regulations now include a new category for draught beer and cider servings that are 50 ounces and over, which refers to beverages served in standard pitchers. The minimum price for pitchers will now be set at $0.20 per ounce, which equates to $12 for a pitcher of beer or cider. The original happy hour pricing required B.C. bars and restaurants to set pitcher prices at a minimum of $15.

      “This is a baby step towards a more reasonable minimum price but it’s baffling that after all their talk about setting a minimum price for your own good they then decide to complicate matters even further,” Adam Chatburn, president of the Campaign for Real Ale Society of B.C., said in a statement posted to the CAMRA Vancouver website today (July 25).

      “This change could even be seen to encourage over-drinking as the working drinkers of BC seek to get their money’s worth and order more for less," Chatburn added. "I can’t call this an all-out victorybut I will call it a partial win."

      A chart showing the new minimum pricing for alcoholic beverages in B.C.

      Servings of draught beer and cider under 50 ounces, which includes 12-ounce sleeves and 20-ounce pints, will continue to be priced at $0.25 per ounce. This works out to be a minimum pricing of $3 for a 12-ounce sleeve of beer or cider, and $5 for a 20-ounce pint.

      Packaged beer, ciders, and coolers is also set at $0.25 per ounce, which means that restaurants and bars are required to charge at least $3 for a 341-millilitre bottle or 355-millilitre can.

      No changes were made to pricing surrounding wines or spirits. Those beverages require a minimum pricing of $3.

      You can follow Michelle da Silva on Twitter at twitter.com/michdas.




      Jul 25, 2014 at 12:52pm

      Call me a crazy libertarian, but why is the government regulating people's personal choices? This sort of thing should be left up to the individual establishment to set their own pricing. These moral regulations have got to go.

      ursa minor

      Jul 25, 2014 at 2:38pm

      Because, you crazy libertarian, consumer protection, distribution of controlled substances and public safety can't just be left up to the individual establishment.

      Not everyone has the same common sense in making personal choices, which is why society naturally limits those choices.

      Be A Man

      Jul 25, 2014 at 6:00pm

      @ Ursa Minor

      First of all, using pricing to limit choices is prejudicial. It means there's a completely different effect happening for different economic classes.

      Secondly, a society that puts regulation ahead of common sense becomes a society of people with no common sense.

      We need some regulation, yes, but Canada is definitely in danger of drowning itself in regulation.


      Jul 25, 2014 at 8:19pm

      Make BC less British and more Columbian. This is just ridiculous. I am a grown up, get the hell out of my way.

      Foster Brooks

      Jul 25, 2014 at 8:34pm

      So, as a free individual with rights and common sense can I not order a pitcher of beer and three pint glasses in order to receive the favourable pricing?

      Lee L

      Jul 26, 2014 at 10:19am

      Please do realize this aint about 'libertarianism' or being an 'adult'. It's about TAX..TAX..and MORE TAX. Remember?


      Jul 26, 2014 at 1:54pm

      One big reason why we "need" this, is because unlike in the US we pay for our healthcare through our own taxes. The massive increase in healthcare costs that comes from increased alcohol consumption naturally has our powers that be want to limit this. If the costs of our healthcare system were taken care of by the private sector, like in the US, then this wouldn't be such an issue and we would likely see similar pricing.

      I don't like high alcohol prices or privatized healthcare, but I'll take our current state of affairs over the US's any day.


      Jul 26, 2014 at 1:59pm

      Considering that beer is 90% water, what is the price for water ?


      Jul 26, 2014 at 2:40pm

      thank you 'liberal' government for being so unliberal

      James Blatchford

      Jul 26, 2014 at 5:39pm

      Who says the Libs couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery?! THEY FIXED HAPPY HOUR!!

      After this, LNG should be a snap.