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

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      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. 

      Comments

      17 Comments

      Rob W

      Mar 6, 2014 at 2:38pm

      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.

      Michael

      Mar 6, 2014 at 2:55pm

      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.

      Dan

      Mar 6, 2014 at 3:14pm

      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.

      Mark

      Mar 6, 2014 at 3:52pm

      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.

      I'm a baby

      Mar 6, 2014 at 3:55pm

      Waa, waa, waa.

      That is all.

      AC

      Mar 6, 2014 at 5:18pm

      Replace the trash mag displays with a few six-packs and your good to go.

      Scott M.

      Mar 6, 2014 at 5:59pm

      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

      VQA?

      Mar 6, 2014 at 6:05pm

      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?

      cathy

      Mar 6, 2014 at 6:17pm

      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?

      Derek

      Mar 6, 2014 at 6:53pm

      Better throw in that worn-out BC Liberal "growing the economy" catchphrase...