B.C. mulls allowing alcohol sales in grocery stores
Published Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:45AM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, October 29, 2013 7:47PM PDT
You may soon be able to pick up a six-pack of your favourite beer along with your weekly groceries in B.C.
The provincial government is reviewing the feasibility of selling alcohol in grocery stores after receiving overwhelming support for the idea on a blog encouraging public consultation on how to overhaul B.C.’s liquor policies.
Parliamentary Secretary John Yap said 80 per cent of respondents on his liquor review blog supported the idea.
The website is part of a larger review to modernize provincial liquor laws and find “retail models that could work for B.C.” when it comes to alcohol sales.
“I've heard strong support for liquor sales in grocery stores and the added convenience it would afford B.C. families,” Yap said.
“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.”
B.C. is considering models from different provinces, including the “store within a store” model in Nova Scotia, where provincial liquor stores operate within grocery stores.
The Quebec model of allowing grocery stores to sell domestic and imported beer, as well as local wine, is also being mulled by B.C.
Finally, authorities will examine the Ontario model, where local wineries are allowed to sell bottles either in freestanding stores or a store within a grocery store.
Yap said consideration is being given to maintaining the current cap on the overall number of liquor outlets in the province “to balance some concerns heard from health and safety advocates about the number of retail outlets.”
There are three days left for the public to give their input on how they’d like to see provincial liquor laws changed. The last major review of liquor laws in the province was in 1999, but didn’t include any public consultation.
Yap will submit his final report to Attorney General Suzanne Anton on Nov. 25.
In 2013, British Columbians bought more than $1-billion in beer and $1.9-billion in wine and spirits.
Have your say: Should alcohol sales be allowed in B.C. grocery stores?