Submitted by BC Government Communications

Purchasing beer and wine along with their bread and milk is a popular theme among British Columbians responding to the Liquor Policy Review.

In response to comments about grocery stores on the liquor policy review website – about 80 per cent of which are in favour of the idea – the B.C. government says it will examine a number of models, including those in other jurisdictions that permit liquor sales in grocery stores.

Several other Canadian provinces have models that B.C. will consider. For example, in Quebec, grocery stores can sell domestic and imported beer, as well as Quebec-bottled wine. Other models include Nova Scotia, where provincial liquor authorities have opened government liquor stores within grocery stores – a so-called “store within a store.” In Ontario, some Ontario wineries are allowed to sell their wine either in freestanding stores or a store within a grocery store or other host retailer.

To balance some concerns heard from health and safety advocates about the number of retail outlets, the government says consideration will be given to maintaining the current cap on the overall number of retail liquor outlets. This could mean allowing current Licensee Retail Stores (LRS) and/or Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) stores to operate within grocery stores.

Following 84 days of consultations, British Columbians are encouraged to use the remaining three days of the public consultation to read about the various retail models on Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform John Yap’s blog and leave their thoughts on what a responsible, made-in-B.C. model would look like to them. The blog will be open to comments until midnight on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013. All feedback and policy research on liquor in grocery stores will help inform Yap’s recommendations.

Other popular topics of conversation have included allowing craft beer and wine to be sold at farmer’s markets, streamlining applications for Special Occasion Licences and allowing children to accompany their parents at liquor primary establishments such as pubs and legions. All of these will be addressed in Yap’s final report, which will be delivered to Attorney General and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton on Nov. 25.