Beer gardens, fencing barriers removed at festivals to allow free flow of liquor

Dec 19 2017, 10:24 am

Gone are the days of cordoned-off beer gardens at family-friendly festivals in B.C., thanks to liquor law changes made today that open up new opportunities for B.C. families and the province’s multitude of festivals and special events.

“Allowing family-friendly festivals to license the grounds instead of cordoning off beer gardens means families can stay together to enjoy the music, fun and festivities and, at the same time, will reduce set-up costs for the many non-profits that do such great work in our province,” said Suzanne Anton, B.C. Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “Our government promised to modernize B.C.’s liquor laws – increasing convenience, selection and choice for consumers, while keeping public safety top of mind – and we are delivering on that promise.”

Parents will be able to enjoy a beverage and explore the festival grounds together with their kids, rather than being restricted to a caged-off beer garden. Not only does this enhance convenience for families, it also reduces costs for the non-profits that run B.C.’s unique festivals and special events, meaning more funds can go to the various causes they support.

“Today’s changes will increase convenience and generate huge time and cost savings for our festival organizers, allowing more proceeds to flow directly to the programs we support,” said Ann Phelps, general manager of the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival. “The thousands of visitors that the Dragon Boat Festival brings to Vancouver each year will also be happy to hear they can now enjoy a beverage while they watch live music, check out the local vendors or grab a bite to eat.”

Public safety will continue to be a top priority. All festivals and public special events that wish to sell alcohol will still need to apply for a special occasion licence (SOL) and may be subject to local government or police approval. For large-scale events that expect more than 500 people, event organizers must submit a site plan that demonstrates a safe, secure environment with controls in place to keep liquor out of the hands of minors.

The changes also refresh additional, outdated liquor policies. Sales of mixed spirits, such as gin and tonic or rum and Coke, are now allowed at SOL events, such as music festivals and regattas, offering more choice and selection for consumers, and creating new opportunities for B.C.’s craft distilleries.

Sports and entertainment venues will also see positive changes, thanks to modernized rules around spirit sales and licensing. Rather than only serving beer and wine to those in the general seating area, and spirits to those in private boxes or premium seats, B.C. stadiums and arenas can now serve spirits to all patrons, no matter where they are seated.

Today’s abolishment of fencing barriers are the first of many to be implemented from the Liquor Policy Review.


Source: BC Newsroom | Featured Image: Beer via Shutterstock

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

+ News