80% of all feedback during the Liquor Policy Review asked for it, government promised it and now consumers will benefit from it: liquor sales in grocery stores start today.
First out of the gate for the wine-on-shelves model is the Save-On-Foods in Surrey, partnering with the BC Wine Institute to represent almost 100 wineries, and selling around 500 different B.C. wines on its shelves for customers. To celebrate, a local winemaker and Save-On-Foods chef joined forces to offer expert advice and create a menu perfect for pairing with the 100% B.C. wines now sold in-store - signalling the start of a new grocery shopping experience for British Columbians.
To safeguard public safety and prevent access to alcohol by minors, all wine will be kept on designated shelves, and must be purchased at tills that have a Serving It Right certified, 19+ cashier. Food and wine pairings, including samples of wine, are also allowed in-aisle, thanks to recently updated rules.
Also on the radar is the new store-within-a-store model, which allows grocery stores to offer a full-suite of alcohol products. This model will be adopted gradually, as licences begin to relocate throughout the province - to other locations, and into grocery stores - providing more flexibility for businesses.
Today also marks a number of other changes that will increase competition in the marketplace, bring convenience, choice and selection for British Columbians, and support a level playing field for liquor retailers throughout B.C.:
- BC Liquor Stores will begin rolling out refrigeration, offering Sunday openings and extending their operating hours at a number of locations throughout the province.
- Many BC Liquor Stores will be opening their doors during the Easter holidays. Check out the changed hours at your local BC Liquor Store here: www.bcliquorstores.com
- All BC Liquor Stores prices on the shelf are now the pre-tax amount - with no significant change in the price customers see on their receipt.
- All liquor retailers - including BC Liquor Stores - will purchase their alcohol at the same wholesale price, using B.C.’s new wholesale model for liquor purchasing and distribution.
Suzanne Anton, Minister of Justice -
“This is a milestone event for B.C.’s progress in modernizing our liquor laws - a culmination of our public and industry consultations, our work to update B.C.’s liquor laws, and our promise to get out of the way and let B.C. businesses do what they do best: create jobs and enhance our economy.
“With two models to adopt, our made-in-B.C. grocery framework will offer shoppers the added convenience of grabbing B.C. wine right off the shelf, or taking their carts into a liquor store within a grocery store.
“Today marks the first day we have opened up the market to change - giving businesses the green light to proceed - and we expect to see more grocery locations pop up over the coming months and begin offering busy consumers the convenient shopping experience they’ve asked us for.”
John Yap, Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform -
“Today is a great day in B.C. - we are celebrating the first grocery store to offer local wine right off of the shelf in our province, which is something many participants asked us for throughout the Liquor Policy Review.
“As the grocery models are adopted, this will further build on the many changes we’ve made, such as liquor sales in farmers’ markets, bringing down beer garden fences and introducing happy hour to B.C., as we continue down our path of modernizing B.C.’s liquor laws - offering new experiences and convenience for consumers, while firmly supporting B.C. businesses.”
Miles Prodan, president and CEO, BC Wine Institute -
“The B.C. government created this model to support the smaller B.C. wine producers - offering them space right on the shelves to promote their B.C. wines and providing shoppers with a unique new experience. Our BC VQA wine is a natural fit for this model, and one that we were able to adapt quickly and easily to fit Save-On-Foods’ new in-aisle option for wine on shelves. Today, consumers get their first taste of shopping for award-winning B.C. wines right in their grocery store.”
Darrell Jones, president, Overwaitea Food Group and Save-On-Foods -
“Save-On-Foods is the perfect pairing for B.C.’s wine-on-shelves model, as we serve many nearby residents and visiting guests. We are very pleased to be able to add to our high-quality shopping experience by bringing this choice to customers. We see local, high-quality BC VQA wines as a great extension of our already industry-leading selection of local products.”
- The five-kilometre rule that limited private liquor store relocations has now been removed, allowing more flexibility for liquor licences to relocate throughout the province.
- The one-kilometre rule applies to the minimum distance between a private liquor store and another relocating private liquor store - it has now been extended to apply to BC Liquor Stores as well, helping to create a fair and competitive market.
- Following a successful pilot, special occasion licensing is moving online starting on April 7, 2015. The new website will be rolled-out regionally over the next month and a half.
- Of the province’s 196 BC Liquor Stores:
- 169 stores have extended their operating hours
- 134 stores will be open year-round on Sundays, and an additional 27 will be open seasonally on Sundays
- BC Liquor Stores’ Easter weekend hours:
- 153 stores will be open on Good Friday
- All stores will be closed on Easter Sunday
- 27 stores will be open on Easter Monday
View a list of BC Liquor Stores that have signed on for extended hours, including on Sunday: www.bcliquorstores.com
Find answers to questions about liquor in B.C. grocery stores and the lottery process: www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/lclb/policy/qa.htm
Learn about applying for your special occasion licence online: www.solo.bcldb.com
Ministry of Justice
Government Communications and Public Engagement