Wine-only licences in grocery stores opposed by private liquor store association

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      A lobbyist for private liquor stores has raised the prospect of grocery chains owning B.C. wineries.

      Jeff Guignard, executive director of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees of B.C., told the Straight by phone that this is one possibility as a result of the provincial government's plan to allow food retailers to have B.C. wine–only licences.

      "Large corporations will come in," Guignard said. "They’ll buy a vineyard or something and then they’ll have an exclusive deal to offer more expensive products with less selections."

      Today's announcement to give grocers the right to have B.C. wine–only licences beginning April 1 came a month after the provincial government had decided to let food retailers buy private liquor-store licences as long as they weren't within a kilometre of existing liquor stores.

      The B.C. wine–only licences don't have any geographic restrictions.

      "I’m actually at this moment standing inside Viti Wine & Lager downtown," Guignard said. "There’s four grocery stores within a five-minute walk from here. So I’m not sure what problem we’re trying to fix by putting wine on grocery shelves."

      He accused the provincial government of following a model tried in Washington state, which he said led to higher wine prices, less selection, and the closure of neighbourhood stores.

      "I don’t think that’s what B.C. citizens want,” he declared. "It's an unfair advantage, particularly when you look where private liquor stores are located. Many of them are within steps of a grocery store as it is."




      Dec 19, 2014 at 4:08pm

      Imagine if there was an Alliance of Greeting Card Manufacturers, they would be throwing a fit about allowing Safeway to sell birthday cards. Oh no, the Hallmark store would be in trouble. Oh no, they would have to compete with better products and services.


      Dec 19, 2014 at 9:10pm

      Most private liquor and worn and beer stores, like us, are mom and pop operations. We have invested our lives here. We have employees, now we have to compete with govt liquor stores open on Sundays. The govt will pay for refrigeration units out of the taxes we pay to compete with us. The govt employees got a home run from the govt. even though they have a huge amt of staff ready to retire, they will be hiring more to compete against free enterprise. What a crock!

      Snooze Button

      Dec 20, 2014 at 12:19am

      "He accused the provincial government of following a model tried in Washington state, which he said led to higher wine prices, less selection, and the closure of neighbourhood stores."

      Of course that's classic BC Liberal strategy of always working to wreck small businesses and helping big corporations. Since everything they do turns to failure for small business sooner or later, it must be set up exactly according to plan, just to help the clowns get reelected and the big campaign donations flowing.


      Dec 20, 2014 at 8:26am

      Alcohol is a dangerous, toxic substance, and it should be sold exclusively by the Government. Why we allow people to "invest their lives" in Hooch is beyond me.

      That being said, I don't think it is good to have it in food stores, at all. But if this will increase price, that is a good thing, as it is well established that increased price decreases consumption. Decreasing overall alcohol consumption is beneficial for public health.


      Dec 24, 2014 at 1:01pm

      Both the Private & Government Liquor Stores operate in a protected Oligopoly.

      An oligopoly is a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers (oligopolists). Oligopolies can result from various forms of collusion which reduce competition and lead to higher prices for consumers.

      I laugh at the protests of a purely for profit commercial operation like a private liquor store rich owners who complain because their Government protected Oligopoly is being squeezed by more future competition from other rich Corporations.

      This is essentially a fight for market share & profits between Multi Millionaires (the Private Liquor Stores Owners) & the Multi Billionaires (the Super Market Owners like old Jimmy Pattison of Save-On & Urban Fare).

      I would love to easily get a License to setup a Private Liquor Store but those are not handed out to any Free Enterprise to be able to Compete! Instead it is severely restricted & new Liquor Retailers are rare. Which artificially via Government help protects (unfairly) the Private Liquor Stores.

      There is little Free Enterprise currently it is a protected Oligopoly.

      Private Liquor Stores can easily compete against Government by paying lower wages (which they currently do) etc.

      Supermarkets will only carry high volume mostly low quality Wines (the business model does not really allow for niche low volume very high quality Wine).

      In order to compete private liquor stores will have to reduce their mark up margins right across the board, that's good for us the Consumer and learn to really compete against other high volume retailers!

      Jobs, lets get real private Liquor Stores employ a small fraction of less than 1% of the BC workforce, Job losses would most likely be made up by hires in the Supermarket sector (there are far more Supermarkets than private Liquor Stores).

      In Washington State there was a small Increase in Net Jobs.

      I am for more Retail competition!