What is the Liquor Control Board of BC?

The Liquor Control Board of BC — officially “B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch” (BCLCLB), is a branch of BC’s Ministry of Justice, and is responsible for issuing liquor licenses for:

  • Pubs, bars, lounges, nightclubs, restaurants, and private liquor stores
  • Manufacturers of liquor including breweries, distilleries and wineries
  • UBrews and UVins that sell customers the ingredients and equipment to make beer, wine, cider and coolers
  • Special occasions

The BC Liquor Control Board is also responsible for regulating the “Serving It Right” program — a mandatory education program for licensees, managers, and servers. Learn about Serving it Right.

Structure of the Liquor Control Board of BC

Liquor Control and Licensing Branch consists of four divisions.

  1. Licensing and Local Government Liaison
    Processes all BC liquor license applications, including applications to transfer liquor licenses. Administers Special Occasion Licenses including policies, procedures, and requests from applicants.
  2. Compliance and Enforcement
    Inspects licensed establishments, ensuring that terms of licenses are met, and educates licensees about their responsibilities as BC liquor license holders.
  3. Policy, Planning and Communication
    Responsible for changes to legislation, regulations, policies of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, and consults with public and private stakeholders including industry, police, and local government.
  4. Management Services Divisions
    Manages all administrative aspects of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch including administration of the branch budget. Manages human resources, facilities, vehicles, and records.

Liquor Licenses Administered by the Liquor Control Board of BC

  • Agent’s License
  • Catering License
  • Food-Primary License
  • Liquor-Primary License
  • Manufacturer’s License (includes Manufacturing Endorsement Approvals — tasting rooms, retail, lounges, special event and tour areas)
  • Special Occasion License
  • Ubrew/UVin License
  • Liquor Retail Store License
  • Wine Store License

According to the Liquor Control Board of BC, nearly 4500 liquor license applications per year are processed. The average length of time it takes to process an application depends on the license, or change to license, requested. While these times fluctuate based on case volume, typical wait times are:

  • Change of Directors: 5 weeks
  • Family Food Service: 3 weeks
  • Food Primary: 12 weeks
  • Hours Change: 11 weeks
  • Liquor Primary: 8-12 months
  • Manufacturer: 4-6 months
  • Manufacturer’s Lounge and Special Event Area: 8-12 months
  • Resident Manager: 10 weeks
  • Share Transfer: 7 weeks
  • Third-Party Operator: 9 weeks
  • Transfer of Ownership: 10 weeks
  • Structural Changes: 4-5 months
  • Transfer of Ownership: 12 weeks

Get help with BC Liquor Control Board license applications.

BC Liquor Control Board Policy Review and Implementation

Beginning in October 2013, John Yap, Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for Liquor Policy Reform, began an exhaustive review of BC liquor policies. Over an 87-day period, Minister Yap and his review team held 65 stakeholder meetings and assessed 4,364 website comments and 3,587 emails. The review culminated in the BC Liquor Policy Review Final Report.

The review “…makes 73 common-sense recommendations to change B. C’s liquor laws so that they reflect current lifestyles, encourage the growth of small businesses and our economy, address calls for consumer convenience, and continue to safeguard health and public safety.” – BC Liquor Policy Review website.

Some of the changes have already been implemented. You can track the implementation progress (view the “Implementation Table”).

Get Help with BC Liquor Control Board Applications

Rising Tide Consultants is a professional liquor licensing consultant specializing in streamlining BC liquor license applications. If you are applying for a liquor license, we can expedite the process and ensure that you have met all of the requirements. Working with our liquor licensing consultants saves time, reduces frustration, and, more importantly, increases the chances of a successful BC liquor license application.

Contact us today to book a consultation.