Upcoming Changes in Liquor Policy

The Province has announced three major changes in provincial liquor policy.  On April 1, 2015 liquor sales will be allowed in select grocery stores, government liquor store operations will be expanded, and a new pricing model will be introduced for the sale of liquor/beer products.  

The objective of these changes is to ensure that public and private liquor outlets are competing on a level playing field.  The change in the pricing model is not intended to reduce the cost of alcohol to the public, but rather it is intended to ensure that the government maintains the same level of revenue.  The government currently receives a total of 1 billion dollars in revenue from liquor sales.

The new Provincial policy is intended to expand the level of competition between liquor outlets.  All of the stores selling liquor will pay the same wholesale price for liquor/beer products.  A two-part grocery store model - a “store-within-a-store” model and a limited number of stores that sell cold BC wine and craft beer off the shelf (see November 5, 2014 Compass article for details) – will be introduced to enhance public convenience.  Government liquor stores will be open on Sunday and will be allowed to sell cold beer and wine in direct competition with private liquor outlets.

The discount price for the sale of beer products will continue to be based on the volume of production.  There will be changes in the pricing model for beer products to promote the expansion of small craft brewer operations at the community level.

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