Private retailers approved to supply special event liquor

PRIVATE liquor retailers are now allowed to sell their products to holders of special event permits to serve liquor at events such as community festivals, family gatherings and private functions, the province announced on Tuesday.

The change follows a recommendation from the Business Technical Advisory Panel. Previously, only government liquor stores could sell liquor products to permit holders. The private retailers who may now do so include:

* B.C. wineries, breweries and distilleries with on-site stores;

* licensee retail stores (private liquor stores);

* wine stores (excluding sacramental wine stores) and special wine stores; and

* rural licensee retail stores.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch issued approximately 28,000 special event permits annually. From 2016-19, the estimated value of liquor purchased by permit holders averaged $26.5 million.

Liquor inspectors will continue to check liquor purchases of special event permittees to ensure they are purchasing only from authorized suppliers.