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.
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.