BC liquor license holders may feel they can breathe easy once their Liquor Primary or Food Primary License is approved, but complacency can lead to lax practices which put your liquor license at risk. Your duty to uphold your responsibilities as stipulated by the license terms and conditions begins when your business is approved. Obtaining a BC liquor license (PDF) can be a costly investment – don’t risk that investment or future earnings by failing to remain in compliance.

The following are 5 common reasons your primary liquor license may be at risk:

  1. Inadequately trained staff Poorly trained staff is arguably the main reason your license could be at risk. Managers and servers must understand that your business’s liquor license depends on continued compliance. Managers who supervise the sale of alcohol and staff who serve or sell alcohol must have Serving It Right training. This important self-study course educates licensees, managers and staff about their duties and responsibilities when serving or selling liquor. After Serving It Right training, continued training that reinforces those responsibilities is advisable. It only takes one lapse of judgement from one staff member to put your BC liquor license at risk.Ongoing training and formalized internal policies and procedures go a long way to safeguarding your license. Rising Tide Consultants specializes in developing continued training and policies and procedures manuals that protect your investment.
  2. Inadvertently serving minors When it comes to serving minors there is no “I didn’t know” defense. You and staff are responsible for ensuring that minors are not served alcohol. Always err on the side of caution if there are any doubts that a patron is under 19 years of age. Asking for two pieces of I.D. and examining the I.D. is mandatory when there are doubts. If you cannot demonstrate that you have taken the necessary steps to verify age, and, you or staff serve a minor, you may be held responsible.
  3. Changes to business operations and/or premises layout You must advise the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch of any changes you make to business operations or premises structure that alter the original information you provided when applying for a liquor license.Examples of such changes include (but are not limited to): business name changes, hours of business/sales, and structural changes such as renovations. Structural changes may change patron capacity limits. Your BC liquor license stipulates the maximum number of people (including staff) or the maximum number of persons allowed in your establishment at one time. It is the licensee’s responsibility to ensure that these limits are not exceeded. Structural changes may also alter the location of exits. Not only could you risk your BC liquor license, you also risk violating building codes and fire bylaws and put staff and patrons in danger in the event of fire, earthquake or other emergencies.
  4. Accepting inducements from manufacturers, agents or sales reps Accepting inducements in the form of benefits for selling a specific manufacturer’s product is not permitted. LCLB is currently examining their inducement policies to ensure compliance. Inducement examples include: product at no cost or reduced cost in exchange for carrying a manufacturer’s products, acceptance of products or services necessary for the operation of your business, financial assistance, volume discounts, any payment of your advertising costs or joint advertising.
  5. Failure to prevent disturbances, disorderly patron conduct BC liquor licensees are responsible for ensuring that their business operates within the law and public interest. You must take measures to ensure that noise bylaws are upheld and the public is not disturbed. Depending on the type of business you operate, this may mean installing adequate lighting, supervising parking lots, posting signs, sound-proofing, and reporting to police any patron behavior that is illegal or may threaten the safety of patrons, employees or the public.

Rising Tide Consultants Can Help You Keep Your BC Liquor License

If your business has been approved for a BC liquor license, let Rising Tide Consultants create formal policies and training tailored to your establishment. Our expert services will help your business remain compliant. Contact us to book a British Columbia liquor licensing consultation.

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