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B.C. makes wholesale liquor pricing permanent for hospitality industry



Victoria – The B.C. government has made permanent its 2020 changes that allowed restaurants, bars and tourism operators with liquor licences to purchase beer, wine and spirits at the wholesale price set by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch.

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31, 2021. Before that, hospitality licensees – including restaurants, pubs and tourism operators with liquor licences – paid full retail price (wholesale price, plus a retail markup set by the Liquor Distribution Branch) on most liquor purchases.

These changes permanently allow licensees to pay the wholesale price for the products they purchase, which is the same cost paid by government and private liquor stores in the province when they purchase stock for retail sale.

This is the latest recommendation implemented to support the liquor industry resulting from government’s work in consultation with the Business Technical Advisory Panel.

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Other changes have included a number of temporary measures, such as extending the operating hours of retail liquor stores to promote physical distancing and accommodate vulnerable populations, and permitting all food-primary and liquor-primary licensees to deliver sealed, packaged liquor products alongside the purchase of a meal.

Restaurants Canada welcomes the announcement confirming that B.C. will permanently allow licensed hospitality businesses to purchase beer, wine and spirits at wholesale prices as promised.

“This move will go a long way to help British Columbia’s hard hit restaurant sector transition from survival to revival,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Western Canada. “This leveling of the playing field between the province’s retail and hospitality sectors is needed now more than ever.”

Every two years, Restaurants Canada releases its Raise the Bar report on liquor policies impacting food-service and hospitality businesses across the country. The 2019 Raise the Bar report called on British Columbia to follow through on the recommendations of the province’s Business Technical Advisory Panel and finally make wholesale pricing available to all types of licensed establishments.

Learn more about all the ways that Restaurants Canada is advocating for better conditions for B.C. bars and restaurants.