New B.C. liquor laws to take effect April 1
Published Wednesday, November 19, 2014 1:51PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 19, 2014 7:46PM PST
It’s not an April Fools’ joke. Many of British Columbia’s new, relaxed liquor laws will take effect on April 1, 2015.
That’s the day when the province will begin allowing the sale of alcohol in grocery stores through the store-within-a-store model, the Ministry of Justice announced Wednesday.
The government also revealed it’s loosening restrictions on BC Liquor Stores, effective the same day, to let them offer refrigeration and stay open longer hours, including on Sundays.
Private liquor retailers will also be allowed to purchase their products from the BC Liquor Distribution Branch at the same wholesale price paid by the government stores.
In a release, B.C. Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton said the changes were aimed at getting the government “out of the way” of market forces.
“These changes will create a more competitive market for retailers,” she said. “The changes we're making to the wholesale price today will enable more competition between retailers to attract British Columbians into their stores and should not force any change in shelf prices.”
The release also noted that the province would “remove barriers that previously hindered and discouraged growth” in B.C.’s booming brewery industry by moving to “gradual increases in mark-up rates” for breweries moving into new production categories. Details on those rates were not included in the release.
The changes are part of B.C.’s ongoing liquor policy review, which has already led to the province allowing liquor sales at farmers’ markets, and permitting bars and restaurants to offer happy hour specials.