B.C. to Cut Retail Liquor Mark-Up to Help Hospitality Sector’s COVID-19 Recovery

VICTORIA — British Columbia is planning to expand measures to support restaurants, bars, and tourism operations hard hit by COVID-19 restrictions.

The Ministry of Attorney General says a temporary wholesale pricing program will mean liquor license holders can purchase beer, wine, and spirits at a reduced cost.

The program is set to begin at the end of next month and be in place until March 31, when it will be reviewed.

Restaurants, bars, and pubs currently pay for liquor purchases at full retail prices, which is the wholesale price, plus a retail markup set by the ministry’s liquor distribution branch.

The new system will eliminate the retail mark-up.

The ministry says in a statement that it is also working on several proposals from a separate report, including creating a new rural liquor license regulated by its liquor and cannabis regulation branch later this year.

Attorney General David Eby says changing the pricing system for liquor sales will help the hospitality industry, which has been one of B.C.’s hardest-hit sectors, affecting as many as 190,000 jobs.

“Offering a wholesale discount for licensees was something we were exploring before COVID-19, but after the onset of the pandemic we accelerated efforts in order to support these community businesses as they try to find their feet,” he says in the statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 16, 2020

The Canadian Press