B.C. government to study liquor in grocery stores
Beer from WalMart, wine at Save On Foods or spirits at the local corner store?
Purchasing alcohol in grocery stores could be a reality sooner than consumers think as the provincial government plows though the responses from the Liquor Policy Review.
“I’ve heard strong support for liquor sales in grocery stores and the added convenience it would afford B.C. families,” said John Yap, Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform in a government release.
“There’s no doubt this would be a big shift in our province – so we will be taking a thoughtful approach and carefully considering which model could work best for B.C., while taking into account all the concerns we’ve heard about the dangers of increased access to minors.
“We must also balance health and public safety with any improvement to convenience, should we proceed in this direction.”
Several other Canadian provinces have models that B.C. will consider. For example, in Quebec, grocery stores can sell domestic and imported beer, as well as Quebec-bottled wine.
Other models include Nova Scotia, where provincial liquor authorities have opened government liquor stores within grocery stores – a so-called “store within a store”. In Ontario, some Ontario wineries are allowed to sell their wine either in freestanding stores or a store within a grocery store or other host retailer.
To balance some concerns heard from health and safety advocates about the number of retail outlets, consideration also will be given to maintaining the current cap on the overall number of retail liquor outlets. This could mean allowing current Licensee Retail Stores (LRS) and/or Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) stores to operate within grocery stores.
Following 84 days of consultations, British Columbians are encouraged to use the remaining few days of the public consultation to read about the various retail models on Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform John Yap’s blog and leave their thoughts on what a responsible, made-in-B.C. model would look like to them.
The blog will be open to comments until midnight on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013. All feedback and policy research on liquor in grocery stores will help inform Yap’s recommendations.
Other popular topics of conversation have included allowing craft beer and wine to be sold at farmer’s markets, streamlining applications for Special Occasion Licences and allowing children to accompany their parents at liquor primary establishments such as pubs and legions.
All of these will be addressed in Yap’s final report, which will be delivered to Attorney General and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton on Nov. 25.
- There have been more than 800 comments (including blog comments, emails and tweets) to the B.C. Liquor Policy Review blog that discuss liquor in grocery stores.
- Carry on the conversation about modernizing B.C.’s liquor laws on Twitter with the #bcliquor hashtag, which has been used more than 4,200 times since the review was launched.
- The last major review of B.C.’s liquor laws was completed in 1999, but did not include a public-consultation component.