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Business in Vancouver

Almost all British Columbian businesses can apply for liquor licences next year

Liquor provision aims to “give local businesses a chance to increase their revenue streams,’ announces the government

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 2:38pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 2:38pm

By Emma Crawford Hampel

New booze regulations coming into effect January 23, 2017, will allow for almost all British Columbia businesses to apply for liquor primary licences next year, making it possible for stores, salons, art galleries and other enterprises to serve liquor to customers.

The provincial government made the announcement November 16, saying the changes are being implemented to give local businesses a chance to increase their revenue streams and also to provide more opportunities for craft breweries and wineries to sell their products.

Victory Barber & Brand owner Matthew Conrad said his shop has been waiting for this change since it opened five years ago.

“The simple act of serving spirits or a local craft beer with our services will be an added luxury for our clientele,” he said.

“But what is truly exciting is it allows businesses like mine to break out of the restrictive mould of the commonly expected business model.”

Businesses that wish to apply for the licences will require their staff to go through the “Serving-It-Right” certification process.

This change is part of the province’s sweeping liquor policy review recommendations announced by the government at the end of 2013. A total of 73 action items were listed at that time, and the B.C. government said 48 of these changes have been implemented. One of the biggest changes that has been put in place is allowing pubs and restaurants to hold “happy hours,” in which drink prices can be different during certain parts of the day.

Some of the other changes include allowing liquor sales from grocery stores, permitting restaurant customers to order alcohol without purchasing food, streamlining the application process for Special Occasion Licences.

The only businesses that will not be able to apply for the liquor licences are those that target minors or operate from motor vehicles.