Caterers licensed to serve liquor
Economy Wednesday, February 6, 2013 1:15 PM

VANCOUVER - Catering companies can now obtain a liquor licence to fully meet the food and beverage needs of their clients as regulations accompanying prior legislative changes have been brought into effect.

These changes make it easier for clients to have liquor service at catered events, which will help support the catering industry and strengthen B.C.'s tourism appeal.

Existing licensed establishments - such as restaurants, hotels, and conference centres - now also have the ability to supply liquor at catered events held at offsite locations. For example, an outdoor wedding could be catered with full liquor service by the couple's favourite restaurant, or an out-of-town convention could retain a single catering company to provide both food and liquor to their conference delegates.

Previously, people hosting an event serving liquor in B.C. needed to get a special occasion licence, take the Serving It Right course, purchase and transport the liquor and accept liability for liquor service at the event. Catering companies can now handle these responsibilities on behalf of their clients.


Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas Rich Coleman -

"This change will make it easier to have liquor service at catered events, which is something both catering companies and their customers want. Licensing caterers also helps support the hospitality industry by strengthening B.C.'s tourism appeal and making B.C. an appealing event destination."

Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president, Western Canada, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association -

"The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association and its catering members who have been advocating for these changes are pleased the government listened. This is a win-win liquor modernization initiative that reduces red tape for government while enabling the hospitality industry to better serve their offsite customers responsibly."

Debra Lykkemark, CEO, Culinary Capers Catering and Special Events -

"Allowing caterers to get a liquor license will benefit the tourism and hospitality industry by making B.C. more competitive in attracting international conferences and special events. Thank you to the provincial government for recognizing the need for changes to the legislation. Thank you to the many hospitality and tourism partners and my fellow caterers for working as a team to make this much needed change a reality."

Ian Tostenson, president, British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association -

"In line with the government's direction on reducing red tape and regulation, this is another common sense policy change that will give catering companies the ability to add services, creating happier customers and increasing employment. Well done."

Quick Facts:

  • B.C. is now in line with other provinces when it comes to caterers and liquor service.
  • Licensing caterers will support job creation and allow the tourism and hospitality sector to compete more effectively as a destination location for conferences, conventions and special events.
  • These changes were made following consultation with the catering industry, hospitality associations and local governments.

Media contact:

Sandra Steilo
Ministry of Energy and Mines
250 952-0617

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