BC liquor laws overhauled

Minister Rich Coleman announced several changes today that will help support local breweries and distilleries, create new business opportunities, and revise current liquor laws in British Columbia.

"These changes will encourage BC craft distilleries to use local grains and produce,” said Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick.

“They will support BC farmers producing high-quality crops, and are the latest example of the BC government's efforts to create a business environment that attracts investment and rewards innovation.”

“BC is internationally respected for our high-quality wines and beers, and is increasingly being looked at as a place of similar opportunity for craft distillers."

Changes announced today include the following:

  • Brewers and distillers now can apply to have an on-site consumption area such as a lounge, tasting room or event area.
  • Small- and medium-sized liquor manufacturers will be allowed up to three common ownership and business relationships with licensed establishments located off their manufacturing site.
  • Rules around how liquor manufacturers can promote their products in bars and restaurants have been simplified by removing the requirement for a buy-sell agreement.
  • Distilled liquor products that consist of 100 per cent British Columbia agricultural raw materials and are distilled in BC by licensed distilleries are now eligible for mark-up exempt direct sales.
  • An honorary BC wine envoy will be named with a mandate to work to complement existing efforts to open up domestic markets for BC wines.
  • Wine stores will become licensees under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act.
  • The criteria on whether private liquor stores can relocate within one kilometer of an existing liquor store are now set out in regulation rather than policy.
  • All increases to liquor-primary capacity will now require local government input.
  • Rural agency stores can purchase unlimited amounts of beer through their local government liquor store.

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