Beer, wine, cider and spirits can be sampled and sold alongside fresh fruits and veggies at B.C. farmers’ markets, as a new batch of Liquor Policy Review changes take effect.
"Having local liquor manufacturers at B.C. farmers’ markets will offer shoppers a convenient opportunity to taste-test and purchase local liquor products, and at the same time promoting B.C. agri-tourism, creating new economic opportunities for local businesses and helping to complement the sales of B.C.-grown foods,” said Jon Bell, president of the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets.
Adopting a community-centred approach, liquor manufacturers will apply directly to the farmers’ markets where they wish to sell their products and it will be up to the market association to determine which vintners, distillers and brewers are accepted, subject to municipal bylaws. To help ensure responsible service and prevent sales to minors, liquor vendors must have Serving it Right certification.
“The liquor policy changes that take effect today reflect the lifestyles of contemporary British Columbians,” said Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton. “Being able to pick up a bottle of local wine at your local farmers’ market is one of many balanced changes that support convenience and choice for consumers and economic growth for B.C.”
Another change that reflects modern societal values is the opportunity for families to grab brunch at a local pub or enjoy a meal together at their legion branch. As of today, liquor-primary establishments may apply to accommodate minors. Should establishments wish to keep their current business model, they are free to do so.
“B.C.’s Legion branches are thrilled to have the option to offer safe, family-friendly environments where legion members can celebrate special occasions with kids in a history-rich environment, to connect as a family, and as a community,” said Angus Stanfield, Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command president.
This change opens up new dining options for rural communities, where the number of family eateries may be limited. To balance health and safety concerns, minors must be accompanied by an adult and may stay no later than 10 p.m.
“Our government has opened the door to family-friendly changes, with updated liquor policies that align with feedback I received from legions, the hospitality industry and British Columbians during the Liquor Policy Review,” said John Yap, Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform. “We are leaving it up to the local associations and businesses to decide whether to pursue these changes.”
Also in effect today, private liquor stores and wine stores now have the opportunity to set up temporary stores at liquor and food and beverage festivals to sell products that are featured at the festival.
- To date, 17 of the 73 recommendations from the B.C. Liquor Policy Review have been implemented.
- Government’s goal is to implement 70% of the 73 recommendations by spring 2015.
- A complete re-write of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act is planned for spring 2015. In the meantime, government has adopted a phased-in approach to modernizing B.C.’s liquor laws.
- The first set of amendments, which modernized outdated provisions and provide the foundation for implementation of key recommendations, received Royal Assent on May 29, 2014.
Read the B.C. Liquor Policy Review final report: http://bit.ly/1beqi8i
Learn about the B.C. Liquor Policy Review: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/liquorpolicyreview/
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice