The provincial government has announced a number of additional liquor policy reforms that will include permitting liquor stores to operate for longer hours including opening on Sundays.
Government operated B.C. Liquor Stores throughout the province, with the exception of a handful of locations, are not permitted to open on Sundays, curtailing government revenues and more importantly cutting demand. Laws that have prevented government liquor stores from opening on Sunday have been in place since the prohibition period.
In addition to longer hours, the government operated stores will be given the option to install refrigeration units to offer readily-cold alcoholic beverages to consumers.
However, special government treatment will end for B.C. Liquor Stores with regards to the pricing for their products. The government operated stores will be required to purchase their products from the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch at the same common, wholesale prices that private liquor stores pay. Previous policies revolving around a complex model permitted certain retailers to receive discounts depending on the type of retailer they are.
The province’s liquor reforms will also benefit breweries through changes in how prices are marked up when breweries grow into a new production category or increase their volume in beer production.
Today’s announced policies will go into effect on April 1, 2015, the same day grocery stores will be able to open a liquor store within their stores, although there has been criticism over the enforcement of the one-kilometre radius rule which prevents new liquor stores from opening up within close proximity of existing locations. Within the City of Vancouver, this means only two liquor stores within grocery stores will be permitted.
The liquor reforms are part of the government’s newly established mandate to increase accessibility to consumers, level the playing field for businesses and promote growth in the industry.
“We heard from many stakeholders during the Liquor Policy Review that the current, varying mark-up and discount rates were confusing to different retailers – and government is acting to address the calls for simplicity and a level playing field,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform John Yap in a statement.
Feature Image: Liquor store via Shutterstock