B.C. moving to update liquor laws

Premier Christy Clark announced this week that B.C. would be implementing some of the recommendations from the Liquor Policy Review report.

Liquor reforms announced this week will allow craft breweries like the Cannery Brewery (above)

Liquor reforms announced this week will allow craft breweries like the Cannery Brewery (above)

When you go shopping at the Penticton Farmers’ Market this summer, you might be able to bring home a bottle of wine for dinner along with all those fresh veggies and other locally made foods.

Premier Christy Clark said B.C. wineries, craft breweries and distilleries might be seeing changes to the liquor laws as early as this spring, thanks to a list of reforms she announced this week, drawn from parliamentary secretary John Yap’s liquor policy review final report.

Topping the list is allowing liquor manufacturers to showcase, sample and sell their made-in-B.C. liquor at venues like farmers’ markets, festivals and off-site tasting rooms. Restaurants at wineries will also be able to sell local products, like craft beers, with meals, not just wines produced on site.

“That’s a pretty good audience to expose our products to that we’ve been denied the right to,” said Bob Tennant of Terravista Vineyards, one of the directors for the Naramata Bench Wineries Association.

Pat Dyck of the Cannery Brewing Company is also excited about the level of exposure available at events like the Penticton Farmers’ Market.

Any time you can get your product in front of the public, she said, you have a chance to both make new customers and an impression on current ones.

The province has also promised to work with the Liquor Distribution Branch on better marketing, education and placement for local products, which Dyck said will also be a helpful support for the growing craft brewery and distillery industries.

“If they hadn’t given B.C. wines space on the shelves 30 years ago, we wouldn’t have the wine industry we have today,” said Dyck. That’s happening already in the liquor stores, she said, but it is consumer-driven. People want to be able to buy local products, and the private liquor stores are happy to supply the need, so the government operations have begun to play catch up and take local products into consideration.

Tennant thinks the focus on marketing could be a bonus for the more established wine industry as well. It includes working with tourism associations to develop brochures, smartphone apps and other tools, “things that will send people to our wineries,” as Clark put it.

“Hopefully the whole thing is going to assist B.C. wineries to capture a larger percentage of the B.C. wine market,” he said, adding that 81 per cent of the wine consumed in B.C. is still imported.

“That is a shame. We could do with a bigger percentage of that marketplace, the one right here at home,” said Tennant.

Dyck was a little more cautiously optimistic about the recommendation to develop a quality assurance program for craft breweries and distilleries similar to the Vintners Quality Alliance. That, she said, could be a real bonus for the industry, provided it doesn’t get mired down in red tape.

Tennant agreed that the winemakers went through some growing pains with the VQA, but said it would be a huge help for breweries and distilleries not just in the home market, but beyond.

“If we want to get beyond the B.C. market, which we need to ultimately, a system that guarantees a basic quality and the products meet safe and acceptable guidelines gives them that edge for marketing outside our own province.”

Other highlights from the new reforms includes streamlining licensing requirements for manufacturers so they can more easily expand their on-site tasting venues to include, for example, picnic tasting areas in a vineyard.

Overall, both Dyck and Tennant, were positive, so far, about in the list of 12 reforms the Clark promised to introduce.

“‘Great’ was my first reaction. Anything to modernize, as she said, is a good thing,” said Tennant. “There are a lot of questions yet to be answered, but it is certainly good.”

 

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read