There is a lot for prospective liquor licensees to know about BC liquor licensing rules and regulations. Firstly, obtaining a license is not as easy as downloading an application from the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (a.k.a. “BC liquor board”) and popping it in the mail. Secondly, if your license is approved, your obligation to comply with a number of rules and regulations begins. After making a considerable investment in time and money, keeping your liquor license is just as important as getting your liquor license.
While writing and implementing training materials is best left to professional BC liquor licensing experts like Rising Tide Consultants, the following training tips are the bare minimum your business should follow.
1) Know Your Stuff
The BC liquor board is the best place to start. You will likely never read all of the information provided verbatim, but you certainly should understand the application process and your duties as a licensee.
- “Applying for a License or Permit” View liquor license and permit types and follow links to more detailed information about each license.
- “Terms and Conditions Handbooks” A list of links to guide PDFs organized by license type. Get to know the BC liquor licensing rules owners, managers and staff must follow to remain compliant.
- Guide to Obtaining a Liquor License in BC (PDF). This Rising Tide Consultants guide answers the top 10 questions asked about obtaining a liquor license in BC.
Note: Rural agency stores (independently operated, full-service grocery stores in rural communities) can apply for an RAS license to sell liquor if they meet BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) criteria. If you are considering applying as an RAS, view the Rural Agency Store Program Information Package (PDF). Scroll to Section 1V, the “RAS Authorization, Terms and Conditions” section, for details about criteria and responsibilities.
2) Get “Serving It Right”…Right
Most BC liquor licenses require that licensees, managers and servers pass the Serving It Right (SIR) course. The mandatory self-study course teaches the legal responsibilities of those serving alcohol. Not only is the course mandatory, it serves as an excellent review tool (see “Review” below). While SIR students may be tempted to cram the information and take the test, a more effective approach includes periodic review as part of ongoing training.
3) Role Play Scenarios
What will managers and staff do if: a patron is intoxicated, belligerent, or violent? What will you do if you see a worker or even a manager breaking a rule? BC liquor licensing terms and conditions handbooks tell you about responsibilities but don’t teach procedures to follow or appropriate responses in real-world scenarios. Role playing exercises reinforce the rules and regulations in a practical way. Licensees, managers and staff will be prepared, and their responses will become second nature. Role playing training is also a great team builder.
For liquor licensees, we mentioned that reviewing SIR materials after the self-study course has been passed is an easy way to ensure that staff remember their responsibilities. Because the online course and course review are free, the only cost is your time to further protect your liquor license. See the SIR course review here.
In additional to reviewing the SIR course, you might consider making BC liquor license handbook reviews mandatory for your managers. For obvious reasons, shift managers are your first line of defense. Because managers train and monitor staff members, it’s paramount that they understand your license terms and conditions.
If you operate a Rural Agency Store (RAS) review the BC Liquor Distribution Branch RAS information package. Also check out the BCLDB category at the Rising Tide Consultants blog for updates and news about BCLDB.
5) Develop and Use Manuals
In-house policy, procedures and training manuals are the best way to safeguard your BC liquor license. Manuals will provide a framework for training licensees, managers and staff. Manuals outline the ongoing work and diligence required to maintain your BC liquor license.
Get BC Liquor Licensing Training from the Pros
Rising Tide Consultants helps BC businesses obtain and keep liquor licenses. Our policy, procedures and training support will help ensure that your hard-earned liquor license isn’t put at risk. Contact our expert BC liquor licensing consultants for more information.