Home Business & Economy Hospitality Wholesale liquor pricing to help with hospitality sector recovery

Wholesale liquor pricing to help with hospitality sector recovery

To help the estimated 190,000 British Columbians who work in this sector

Tuesday February 23, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends

The BC Government has taken a move to support the hospitality industry by permanently allowing restaurants, bars and tourism operators with liquor licences to purchase beer, wine and spirits at the wholesale price set by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB).

This comes one year into the pandemic, with economic impacts clearly harsh on the hospitality and tourism sectors.

“Early in the pandemic, our government took urgent action to support B.C. restaurants and pubs by allowing them to purchase alcohol at a wholesale cost,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

Mike Farnworth
BC Public Safety Minister & Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, December 14, 2020 in Vancouver.

“Now we are making this change permanent to give these businesses certainty and help them recover, and to help the estimated 190,000 British Columbians who work in this sector,” Farnworth said in a release today from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Liquor Distribution Branch.

Following from temporary changes:

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31, 2021. Before that, hospitality licensees – including restaurants, pubs and tourism operators with liquor licences – paid full retail price (wholesale price, plus a retail markup set by the LDB) on most liquor purchases.

These changes permanently allow licensees to pay the wholesale price for the products they purchase, which is the same cost paid by government and private liquor stores in the province when they purchase stock for retail sale.

“Our government is taking action to help support businesses, including those in the hospitality and restaurant sectors,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “As the sector continues to pivot and adapt to meet customers’ needs, this measure will better position business owners to regain stability as they navigate through the pandemic to economic recovery.”

This is the latest recommendation implemented to support the liquor industry resulting from government’s work in consultation with the Business Technical Advisory Panel (BTAP).

BCRFA sees need met:

BC Restaurants and Foodservices Association
BC Restaurants and Foodservices Association

“Over the last few months the BCRFA along with our industry colleagues have been expressing the need to make this permanent and today we are happy to share this news,” the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association said in an email to their members.

Other changes during COVID:

Other changes have included a number of temporary measures, such as extending the operating hours of retail liquor stores to promote physical distancing and accommodate vulnerable populations, and permitting all food-primary and liquor-primary licensees to deliver sealed, packaged liquor products alongside the purchase of a meal.

These are in addition to permanent measures, such as eliminating the independent wine store retail licence class and transitioning Rural Agency Store authorizations to the new Rural Licensee Retail Store liquor licence regulated by the Liquor and Cannabis Branch.

Welcomed by sector:

“This is welcome news, as access to wholesale pricing on a permanent basis will help alleviate some of the financial pressures faced by industry due to the pandemic,” said Trevor Kallies, director of beverage, Donnelly Group. “Business owners can now move forward with a focus on other areas, such as the health and safety of staff and customers, and keeping our businesses alive.”

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Read the BTAP report here: