Vancouver looking to expand wine sales in grocery stores

Apr 5 2023, 11:52 pm

While you might have been able to buy a bottle of wine at the liquor section within the Whole Foods at the Cambie location in Vancouver, surrounding cities have been using a different (arguably easier) shopping model.

Since 2017, municipalities like Surrey, North Vancouver, and Coquitlam have allowed grocery stores to sell BC wine on shelves thanks to an updated provincial law in 2015.

But two years after the province changed the Liquor Control and Licensing Board (LCLB) regulations, the Vancouver City Council passed a moratorium prohibiting such sales.

This has meant that Vancouver has limited liquor sold to a “store-within-a-store” model.

However, Vancouverites may be able to purchase wine while they shop for their favourite cheese paring at their local grocery storeĀ if a new proposed motion is passed at City Hall.

Vancouver City Councillor Mike Klassen put forward a motion to revisit the wine-on-shelf model for grocery stores, which he says has been proven to be successful in other Metro Vancouver regions.

Klassen said it’s time council revisit the City’s previous decision and model because there’s been “considerable change in the provincial retail landscape since that time.”

Klassen’s motion also goes on to read that “Given the non-problematic success of the wine-on-shelf model for grocery stores as seen across the province since the changes to regulations in 2015,” it’s worth reflecting on the decision made by the City about six years ago.

“The current provincial liquor regulations allow retailers to support local farmers without harming the interests of existing liquor retailers,” the motion reads. “In fact, ‘mom and pop’ liquor retailers often benefit from increased foot traffic as a result of their proximity to grocery stores given the restrictions surrounding the products grocery stores are allowed to offer on sale.”

Klassen is calling on council to direct staff to update the City’s grocery liquor retail store guidelines by the end of the second quarter, including any by-law amendments that may be necessary to allow wine-on-shelf sales in Vancouver grocery stores.

Council is set to discuss the motion on April 11.

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