Wineries, brewers can now sell booze they didn’t make

Cross-promotion between alcohol producers expected to be unleashed with latest B.C. liquor policy reform

Wineries can now serve craft beer in their lounges and breweries are no longer barred from offering wine after the latest provincial liquor policy reform.

Wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries with licensed lounges can now sell patrons liquor they didn’t produce.

Until now, a distillery couldn’t sell anything other than the spirits it produces – a glass of B.C. wine was off limits – and a winery couldn’t oblige if one guest at a table wanted a beer instead of the local grape.

Those lines are erased under the latest change stemming from B.C.’s liquor policy review.

But there will be a limit – a maximum of 20 per cent of sales by a given producer can consist of liquor produced off-site. That’s intended to keep the focus on unique local offerings.

“We are doing away with B.C.’s archaic liquor rules,” Attorney General Suzanne Anton said, adding the change will give more choice to consumers while supporting B.C. tourism and small businesses.

Craft Distillers Guild of B.C. president Tyler Dyck said the move opens the door for craft brewers, vintners and distillers to cross-promote each other.

The new rules also apply to special events, so a wedding or other event at a winery or other liquor producer will no longer have to get a special occasion licence to serve alcohol.

Anton indicated more reforms may be coming in areas where “further red tape can be cut.”

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Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

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