B.C.’s Minister of Justice has introduced legislation to allow for auctions of licenses to sell wine, cider and sake in grocery stores. The legislation will create the framework for future auctions of “Special Wine Store Licenses".

  1. The legislation defines grocery store as: “(a) is primarily engaged in retailing food and non-alcoholic beverages that are specified in the regulations; and, (b) has an area of at least 929 square metres". The legislation provides the Government with authority to specify the types of food and non-alcoholic beverages for the definition of “grocery store” by regulation.
  2. The Special Wine Store License will allow the sale of wine, cider and sake made from plant products grown in British Columbia. The products will be sold in any location, within a licensed grocery store, approved by the general manager of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.
  3. The general manager of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch will establish the number of available Special Wine Store Licenses.

The Special Wine Store License Auction Act legislation as introduced in the British Columbia legislature is found here.

At the same time, the Government has introduced a new version of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act.  However it is clear that Government’s intention is that the Special Wine Store License Auction Act is intended to come into force at an earlier date and thus would initially rely on the existing Liquor Control and Licensing Act.

Next Steps:

  1. RCC will continue to encourage Government to: (a) remove restrictions which reduce competition in the retail sale of liquor; (b) remove restrictions upon the type of products eligible for in-aisle sales; and, (c) remove restrictions on the procurement, warehousing and distribution of liquor for retail sale.
  2. RCC will encourage government to remove the requirement for approval by the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch of particular in-store sites where liquor may be sold.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Greg Wilson, Director, Government Relations (B.C.) at: [email protected] or 604-730-5254