MOST customers at a distillery lounge are visiting for the spirits – however, thanks to the latest government liquor update, they will now also have the option to order a beer, cider or glass of wine, if they prefer.
Previously, a winery could only sell glasses of vino it produced onsite, and a brewery could only let you buy a glass of its local beer. This would sometimes mean that some visitors would choose to not purchase anything, if they’d rather have a cider or a mixed drink, for example.
No longer is this the case. Starting today, distilleries, wineries, cideries and breweries with licensed lounges or special event areas can sell liquor they don’t produce, for customers to enjoy during their visit.
By making this change, it also means that, in many cases, customers throwing a wedding or other event at one of these locations won’t have to apply for a separate Special Occasion Licence to reap these benefits either – one less thing to worry about when planning the big day.
This latest change, made as a result of feedback heard during the Liquor Policy Review, will cut red tape for B.C. liquor manufacturers and help them further support and promote their allies in the industry, while offering a new, value-added service for their visitors.
Over the next few months, government will continue consulting with liquor manufacturers about these on-site tasting options and the process for getting a liquor licence, to find areas where further red tape can be cut.
Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said on Tuesday: “How many British Columbians have been on a cidery tour and wanted to buy a glass of B.C. wine at one of their stops and been turned away? How many people have held a wedding at a winery and been forced to apply and pay for a special occasion licence because they knew some of their guests would want to have a beer or a mixed drink? Well, as of today, these issues are a thing of the past.
“We are doing away with B.C.’s archaic liquor rules. Today’s change will both create more selection for consumers, and support B.C. tourism, small businesses and our many incredible liquor producers.”
John Yap, Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform, said: “Our government is making small changes with big impacts, as we update our liquor policies based on the feedback I received from industry and British Columbians during the Liquor Policy Review. Today is a great example of the work we are doing to open up the market to create more choice and convenience for consumers – while also creating more opportunities for B.C.’s burgeoning liquor industry to reach its full potential.”
Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick said: “These changes mean there are more opportunities for B.C.’s artisan spirit, wine and beer producers to showcase and sell their products to local residents and visitors, and compete with products from around the world. The growing demand for craft B.C. beverages highlights the consumer demand for local foods and creates new markets and customers for B.C. growers and value-added producers, a key goal in our Agrifoods Strategy to grow B.C.’s agrifoods sector into a $14 billion a year industry by 2017.”
Tyler Dyck, President, Craft Distillers Guild of BC, said: “This is a perfect way to allow craft B.C. distilleries, wineries, cideries and breweries to showcase one another, in an effort to cross-promote and support the local B.C. industry. Our distillers have been asked on a daily basis why we can’t serve craft B.C. beer and wine in our lounges – and now we will be able to share the good news with our customers that they have that option.”
Miles Prodan, President and CEO, BC Wine Institute, said: “This is a welcomed enhancement to the B.C. wine industry, both from a business perspective and also for our customers’ convenience. While we know many of our visitors are exploring our world-class wineries to experience B.C. wine, it’s also nice to be able to offer consumers the option of a mixed drink or a beer.”