WEST KELOWNA - B.C. Premier Christy Clark appears to be watering down the idea of alcohol sales in grocery stores.
Clark says she's aware British Columbians are massive supporters of the convenience of beer and wine sales in grocery stores, but the government has public safety concerns.
Speaking at a winery in her West Kelowna riding, Clark says she supports a dozen liquor law changes that benefit the wine industry, including selling wine and other craft-brew products at farmer's markets.
Allowing alcohol sales at grocery stores is one of 70 recommendations in a report submitted last month to the provincial justice minister by John Yap, the parliamentary secretary tasked with the review of liquor laws.
Clark says when it comes to selling beer and wine in grocery stores her government must consider public convenience, safety and the promotion of B.C. products.
Private liquor store operators say selling beer and wine in grocery stores threatens their livelihoods and poses risks for alcohol sales to minors.
— The Canadian Press
Infotel News: 11:28 a.m. Dec. 11, 2013
WEST KELOWNA - Premier Christy Clark announced the B.C. Government's support of recommendations that could improve tourism and economic growth for those in the wine industry.
The announcement was made today at Volcanic Hills Estate Winery on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna.
Recommendations in a report from Parliamentary Secretary John Yap focused on expanding consumer choices, opening up development opportunities for B.C. businesses, promoting local products and cutting red tape.
The idea is to offer flexibility to promote tourism in areas of licensing, so manufacturers can sample and sell their made-in-B.C. liquor at venues such as farmers' markets, festivals and off-site tasting rooms.
From the Government of British Columbia press release:
Specifically, with the Liquor Policy Review recommendations announced today, government is supporting:
* Local manufacturers by cutting red tape on licensing.
* The promotion of B.C. products and producers, both in-store and by exploring the potential for a quality assurance program for craft breweries and distilleries.
* The growth of the wine, craft brewery and craft distillery industries by allowing the sale of products at locations like farmers' markets and secondary tasting rooms.
B.C. will streamline licensing requirements for manufacturers so they can more easily expand their on-site tasting venues to include, for example, picnic tasting areas in a vineyard. The recommendations also include allowing manufacturers the ability to offer patrons liquor that is not produced on-site, providing greater selection for consumers and new revenue streams for manufacturers.
To further promote the many advantages of buying local, the B.C. government and Liquor Distribution Branch will move forward on recommendations to enhance marketing, promotion, education and product placement of made-in-B.C. products - both in and-out-of-province. In collaboration with industry and tourism associations, the Province will also develop new tools, such as smart-phone apps, maps and brochures on B.C.'s wealth of wineries, breweries and distilleries.
In recognition of the newly flourishing market, the B.C. government will also explore the idea of establishing a quality assurance program, similar to the popular VQA wine program, for B.C. craft beer and artisan-distilled spirits, such as winter ales, cucumber-infused gin or B.C.-fruit brandy.
To further cut red tape, government will create a more streamlined application process for facilities such as ski hills and golf courses so they can temporarily extend their liquor licensed area to another part of the property, such as a patio or a barbeque area.
The B.C. government's support for these recommendations follows on the heels of the now-completed B.C. Liquor Policy Review. It is anticipated that the full report will be publicly released in the new year, once Cabinet has had the opportunity to fully consider its 70-plus recommendations.
The ultimate goal of the Liquor Policy Review is to modernize B.C.'s liquor laws, enhance consumer convenience and grow B.C.'s economy, while continuing to protect health and public safety.
* B.C. currently has 269 wineries, 76 breweries and 27 distilleries.
* B.C.'s liquor industry, a leading contributor to tourism, is worth $2 billion in economic impact, according to the BC Wine Institute, and every bottle of wine produced in B.C. is worth $42 in economic impact.
* B.C.'s wine industry alone brings in more than $298 million in federal and provincial taxes and Liquor Distribution Branch mark-up.
* B.C.'s tourism revenues are valued at more than $13.4 billion annually.
* More than 126,000 people work in the tourism in B.C. - that's almost one in every 15 jobs.
While the comments are now closed, the B.C. Liquor Policy Review website site will remain active so British Columbians can continue to
review the blog and its comments, Liquor 101 content and stakeholder submissions: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/liquorpolicyreview/
Read about the recommendation that government develop a model to allow liquor in grocery stores: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/11/grocery-store-liquor-sales-recommended-for-bc.html
Read about the B.C. Liquor Policy Review's public and stakeholder engagement process: http://bit.ly/1cw4aVa
BC Association of Farmers' Markets: http://www.bcfarmersmarket.org/
BC Wine Institute: http://www.winebc.com/
Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association: http://www.totabc.org/
Big White Ski Resort: http://www.bigwhite.com/
11:17 a.m. Dec. 11, 2013
WEST KELOWNA - Premier Christy Clark is in West Kelowna today to talk about the province's support of a report on liquor policy reform.
Clark will be speaking at the Volcanic Hills Estate Winery located on Boucherie Road, and will be joined by winery and tourism representatives. The report contains key recommendations from the office of Parliamentary Secretary John Yap.