News

Booze coming to B.C. grocery stores in 2015

Artist
Artist's rendering shows liquor store attached to a grocery store. Shoppers can put alcohol products in their grocery carts, but they will have to go through two cash registers.
— image credit: B.C. government photo

B.C. residents will be able to buy B.C. wine from grocery stores by early next year, with some stores connected to liquor stores that offer full selection including hard liquor.

The provincial government released its framework for a major overhaul of liquor policy Thursday. It proposes a small number of new licences for Vintners' Quality Alliance (VQA) wine sales from grocery store shelves, with future expansion to include B.C.-made craft beer under the same licences.

Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap said all alcohol sales will be rung through at separate cash registers, with staff trained in an expanded "Serving It Right" course to check identification and sobriety. Customers will be able to stock up on groceries and alcoholic beverages in the same shopping cart, whether from in-store B.C. wine or products from a connected liquor store.

Changes to take effect by this summer include licensing B.C. wine and beer sale and tasting at farmers' markets, permitting "happy hour" drink discounts at licensed businesses and removing the requirement for fenced beer gardens at approved outdoor festivals.

Yap said the government is adopting a recommendation from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall and other health officials to tie prices to alcohol content, in an effort to reduce over-consumption.

The government plans to maintain its cap on the number of liquor stores, with 670 private stores now in operation. Liquor stores are currently restricted to relocating no more than five km from their original location, but that restriction is being lifted so a licence can be sold or moved anywhere in the province.

Yap said that would allow either a government or private liquor store to relocate next to a grocery store.

Another major change in the works is to wholesale pricing from the government's monopoly Liquor Distribution Branch. Currently private stores pay a 16 per cent discount off the government store retail price.

Yap said the LDB will move to the same wholesale price for all stores, based on the value of each product, and retail prices will be set by a competitive market.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Province okays transit tax referendum question, with some tweaks
 
Lack of addiction treatment flagged by crime panel
 
Initial assessment finds mother unfit to stand trial: defence
Trinity Western University in Langley sues law society over law school
 
Site C dam construction to start next summer
 
Christmas concerts
Abram re-elected as chair of SRD board of directors
 
Avian flu outbreak that started in Chilliwack crosses U.S. border
 
40 beds? Too few, says MLA Robinson

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 18 edition online now. Browse the archives.