Gov. confiscates whisky

In a prohibition-style move, government officials raided B.C. businesses and confiscated hundreds of bottles of whisky.

Odai Sirri, vice-president of operations for the Grand Hotel in Nanaimo, said he was shocked when 11 bottles of specialty whisky were confiscated.

"Our hotel was part of a co-ordinated raid that the liquor board had done across the island and in Metro Vancouver," said Sirri. "At 10 a.m., we were hit along with other hotels and bars that serve the kind of high-end unique whisky products that we do.

"It's 2018 and it shines another spotlight on how archaic the liquor laws are in British Columbia. Year after year the issue does not get addressed. We're talking about a year where marijuana is being legalized, and the government is spending resources on whisky."

He said the business is still unclear why the products were seized, but all were obtained from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada, not provincial liquor suppliers.

Fets Whisky Kitchen in Vancouver, had hundreds of bottles seized.

"The government inventoried, catalogued, sealed and removed 242 bottles of whisky from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society worth about $40K," the business said.

B.C.'s Ministry of Attorney General provided a statement to CTV News on Friday that did not specifically comment on the seizures, but indicated the products were confiscated because they weren't purchased through the Liquor Distribution Branch.

"The (Liquor Control and Licencing Board) operates independently in terms of the General Manager's supervision of licensees, and enforcement decisions cannot be directed by the Attorney General," the ministry said. It added that all liquor sold by bars and restaurants must be purchased through the branch and must be documented in the establishment's liquor register.

- with files from CTV Vancouver Island

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