Most B.C. grocery stores still don't serve wine 19 months after laws loosened
Published Tuesday, November 15, 2016 7:25PM PST
More than a year and a half after the Liberal government announced its first step in loosening provincial liquor laws, alcohol is only available in 12 British Columbia grocery stores.
Wine hit the shelves of a Surrey supermarket in April 2015, the first store in the province to boast both vegetables and vino in its aisles.
At the time, the Liberals toasted the announcement as the next step in loosening B.C. liquor laws, but the program has been slow to roll out.
Nineteen months after the program launched, there are just a dozen grocery stores that sell wine, and none are in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby or the Tri-Cities.
"We want to make sure it's done right and with the support of communities around the province," said Liberal MLA John Yap, parliamentary secretary for liquor reform policy.
The latest store to add liquor to its shelves did so on Tuesday, and for the first time, shoppers of the South Surrey Superstore could add bottles of wine to their carts of groceries.
"If you're coming here to shop for your dinner you can pick wine at the same place, so the location is ideal," shopper Elizabeth Lehigh said.
Two more stores, this time in Kelowna and Vernon, are expected to be adding wine to their shelves in the next few weeks.
But residents of other parts of Metro Vancouver vented their frustration to CTV News.
"I feel everything just takes forever in B.C.," one person said.
Two women who previously lived in the U.S. and in Montreal, where liquor is available in grocery stores, said it would be "a lot easier" to stock up while getting groceries.
"I think it would just save time over all… Now you have to make a second or third trip to go get something else you need," one said.
"I think it's all beneficial," the other added.
"It's really just time efficiency and streamlining. We're all short of time, so that helps," another person told CTV.
NDP critic David Eby suggested the government may have spoke too soon when it held a news conference in April 2015.
"They held the press conference first to announce there was going to be wine in grocery stores, then they did all the work later and they found out it was going to be way harder than they thought," he said.
"They have to negotiate with the municipalities who don't necessarily want liquor stores on every corner in their community."
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Scott Hurst