On January 23, 2017, the newly revamped Liquor Control and Licensing Act comes into force, bringing with it a host of changes too lengthy to list in one article. Business that will benefit the most are those that have not traditionally been able to apply for a primary BC liquor license allowing them to serve alcohol to their patrons.
The BC Liquor Policy Review has made 73 recommendations to modernize BC’s outdated liquor policies. As of November 16, 2016, 48 of those recommendations have been implemented and on January 23, 2017, a number of other long-awaited changes will come into force.
The Big Winners: Primary License Eligibility for Non-Restaurant, Non-Pub Businesses
All types of BC businesses (with some restrictions) will be eligible to apply for a primary BC liquor license. When the new Act comes into force, the big winners will be craft breweries, barbershops, salons, spas, cooking schools, art galleries, bookstores, and other BC businesses that are not bars or restaurants. In fact, unless your business operates from a motor vehicle or targets minors, you may apply for a primary BC liquor license. Applicants will still have to meet the same stringent licensing requirements as any liquor serving establishment, including Serving It Right certification for licensees, managers and servers.
For many BC businesses, serving liquor to customers is a good fit, will provide an additional source of revenue, and will become a welcome “luxury” to their clients.Since 2013, we have been working to modernize antiquated liquor laws. We want the rules to complement businesses, not hinder them. We want to bolster creativity and innovation, not create barriers and red tape. Allowing all types of businesses to apply for a liquor licence creates other business possibilities for B.C. businesses. John Yap, Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform, quoted in BC Gov News article “Alcohol may be on the menu for more BC businesses“.
Others Businesses that Benefit from BC Liquor Licensing Modernization
- For-profit businesses will be eligible to apply for Special Events Permits (Special Occasions Licenses).
- Licensed restaurants, bars, manufacturers, and caterers will be able to “infuse” liquor to create unique “craft” cocktails.
- Hotels and resorts will be able to allow guests to carry unfinished liquor from the hotel bar or restaurant to their hotel room.
- Hotels and resorts that own a bar can provide complimentary cocktails to guests upon check-in.
Read a summary of the BC liquor license policy review and changes at govTogetherBC.
BC Liquor License Policy Resources
- Visit the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch
- View our BC liquor license guide (PDF).
- Visit the BC Liquor Policy Review Implementation
- View an overview of the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Act sections coming into force (PDF) on January 23, 2016.
Confused by the New BC Liquor License Policies?
If you are confused by the new licensing policies, you are not alone. The BC liquor license policy review and its changes are complicated, confusing and require an experienced guide. If you are wondering how these changes affect your business, are interested in applying for a liquor primary license, and would like to increase your chances of success, contact us at Rising Tide Consultants, BC’s premier liquor licensing consultant.