October 08, 2015 - 8:30 AM
OKANAGAN - Small and medium sized wineries say efforts are working to slow the province’s issuing of liquor licenses to allow wine sales in grocery stores.
Following a meeting held at Poplar Grove Winery in Penticton last week, the B.C. Alliance for Smart Liquor Retail Choice reported the group met with staff of Premier Christy Clark on Monday, Oct. 5 to discuss the issue.
The province has said there will be a maximum of 24 new licenses under Bill 22, but the licenses aren’t expected to be issued until February or March of 2016. The licences are for 100 per cent B.C. wine only. Over the next few months the government will look at how to implement the new licenses so small and medium sized wineries are supported and private liquor retailers protected from the economies of scale of grocery chains.
Church and State Winery President Kim Pullen says the government has agreed to meet with participants to look at the issue, noting the industry’s concerns have been heard and acknowledged by the province.
“It’s now up to industry groups to come up with a strategy which will benefit all of us. The government listened to our concerns that we risked losing two or three of our valuable sales chains and it was clear from the meeting they don’t want that to happen,” he says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015