The B.C. government’s move to allow licensed restaurants, bars, and tourism operators to purchase liquor at the wholesale price set by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch has been made permanent.
The B.C. government made the change last year to support the hospitality industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it was temporary.
Before the change hospitality licensees paid retail prices, including an additional mark-up, on most liquor purchases.
“We are making this change permanent to give these businesses certainty and help them recover, and to help the estimated 190,000 British Columbians who work in this sector,” Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said.
The B.C. Alliance of Beverage Licensees calls the decision one of the most significant liquor policy changes in a generation.
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“Minister Farnworth really came through for us today,” BC’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees Executive Director Jeff Guignard said. “This is exactly the kind of support and certainty our businesses need to recover.”
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Accessing wholesale prices will reduce the cost of liquor purchases for pubs and restaurants by as much as 20 per cent.
“This is huge for our business,” Darby’s Hospitality Inc. Director of Operations Brendan Bonfield said.
“It will help us weather the pandemic financially and keep people employed, while also giving our customers better options that were unaffordable until now.”
The province has made numerous liquor-related changes to manage economic concerns linked to the pandemic.
These changes include extending the operating hours of retail liquor stores to promote physical distancing and accommodate vulnerable populations, and permitting all food-primary and liquor-primary licensees to deliver sealed, packaged liquor products alongside the purchase of a meal.
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