As the B.C. government opens up new competition in the liquor industry, the BC Chamber is urging stakeholders to keep a focus on long-term solutions to the industry’s challenges: namely, getting the B.C. government out of the liquor retail and distribution business.
Currently, B.C.’s liquor industry is buzzing with two new developments:
- an exemption that the B.C. government has created to a traditional prohibition on liquor stores operating within one kilometer of each other. The exemption enables grocery stores to obtain liquor licenses to sell 100% B.C. wine off their shelves, even if they operate within one kilometer of an existing public or private liquor store; and
- B.C. this month starting to auction off a small quantity of available 100% B.C. wine licenses to grocery stores interested in selling wine under the new exemption.
As the industry reacts to these developments – with some calling on municipalities to create local bylaws to restore a hard one-kilometre no-competition zone around liquor stores – the BC Chamber is calling on stakeholders to keep their eye on the bigger picture.
“Adding local bylaws is not the solution to liquor industry challenges,” said Maureen Kirkbride, BC Chamber Interim CEO. “Chamber members have long called for the B.C. government to pull out of the liquor retail and distribution business altogether, to right an uneven playing field and to promote a healthy private-sector industry.”