B.C. makes liquor more accessible, levels playing field.

Alcoholic beverages will be available at grocery stores throughout the province.

Alcoholic beverages will soon be available in grocery stores throughout British Columbia.

Alcoholic beverages will soon be available in grocery stores throughout British Columbia.

New changes to British Columbia’s liquor laws will provide more convenience and support to citizens and businesses.

As of April 1, 2015 grocery stores throughout the province will be able to sell alcohol through a separate, “store-within-a-store” according to a report released by the British Columbia Ministry of Justice.

Also on April 1, provincially owned liquor stores will be able to offer refrigeration services and remain open later and on Sundays.

Small breweries in the province will also see changes to help support growth and success in the industry by removing barriers that have been detrimental to small business growth. The changes will be a gradual increase in mark-up rates so that there will no longer exist a “financial” cliff when breweries grow and enter into large production categories.

Also starting April 1, 2015 all liquor stores in British Columbia, both provincially owned or independently owned will be required to purchase alcohol for the B.C. Liqour Distribution Branch (BCLDB). All products sold by the BCLDB will be sold at a common, wholesale price and will level the playing field by removing a system that allows some retailers to receive discounts on alcohol products based on which type of alcohol retailer they are.  Prior to this change, independent wine stores were subject to a 30 per cent discount and private liqour stores and rural agency stores were eligible for 16 and 12 per cent discounts respectively. These discounts were based off shelf prices at provincially owned BC Liqour Stores.

Suzanna Anton, who is the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said of the changes,


“It is our expectation that, starting April 2015, these changes will create a more competitive market for retailers. The changes we’re making to the wholesale price today will enable more competition between retailers to attract British Columbians into their stores and should not force any change in shelf prices.”