B.C. wholesale alcohol pricing

B.C. wholesale alcohol pricing measure made permanent

British Columbia has announced that B.C. wholesale alcohol pricing will become a permanent measure, allowing restaurants, bars, and tourism operators to buy liquor at lower prices.

A temporary change to allow for B.C. wholesale alcohol pricing was enacted in June 2020 in a bid to help revive a struggling industry that has been hit devastatingly hard by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hospitality industry will now be able to buy alcohol at the same price as liquor stores on a permanent basis. The temporary measure had been set to expire on March 31.

Previously, restaurants, pubs, and tourism businesses with liquor licences paid full retail price on most alcohol purchases. That price consisted of the wholesale price, plus a markup set by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says in a news release that the government is making the change permanent to give businesses certainty and to help the estimated 190,000 residents who work in the sector.

Trevor Kallies, beverage director for Vancouver-based bar owner Donnelly Group, says B.C. wholesale alcohol pricing will help alleviate some financial pressures. It will also allow establishments to focus on other areas, such as the health and safety of staff and customers.

Al Deacon, owner of Fox’n Hounds Pub and Fox’n Hounds Sahali Liquor Store in Kamloops, B.C., told CBC the extra savings that will result from this can be used to keep staff employed. 

“In the pub last week, for instance, we were down 12 shifts out front on the floor compared to the previous week,” he said Wednesday. “[This] is huge for people who are there, students or single moms or someone who’s got a parent or has a mortgage.”

Earlier this month,  ORHMA President & CEO Tony Elenis called for Ontario to make a similar move in the association’s response to Ontario’s 2021 Pre-Budget Consultation.

David Hopkins, president of  leading Canadian hospitality consulting agency The Fifteen Group, has previously said he hopes to see that move extended nationwide to help kickstart further recovery in the foodservice and hospitality sector.