Brewers Growl, Caterers Celebrate Over Changes Liquor Laws

Growler with a lake view

While changes to antiquated liquor laws mean we can now stand up at wine tastings and buy booze on election day, B.C. still has a lot of bizarre policy surrounding booze that befuddle businesses that produce, distribute, and serve alcohol.

Here are some recent changes, for better or worse:

 
Tax Mark Up Gets Microbrewers Growling

Beer enthusiasts and microbreweries are, for the most part, irked by a tax increase on growlers, the 1.8 litre refillable beer jugs, which will thin profit margins for breweries. Provincial breweries, including Parallel 49 and R&B Brewing Co., have made a business out of serving fresh beer Avalon-milk-bottle-style, offering consumers an option beyond the six-pack.
 
Microbreweries often live off micro-profits, said Rick Dellow, co-owner of R&B Brewing Co, in BC NDP liquor policy critic Maurine Karagianis’ statement on the tax change.  
 
Bigger breweries or ones with less cash flow tied to the refillable jug, have indicated that they aren’t too concerned.
 

No More Dry Weddings

Vancouver’s Culinary Capers Catering will be the first in the province to obtain an off-premise liquor license, which nulls the need for wedding parties and event planners to buy their own booze and transport it—even when it’s a caterer serving it at the event.
 
Caterers previously faced fines of $100,000 or more for buying and transporting alcohol for a function.
 
“It was just getting too complicated.” says Debra Lykkemark, CEO of Culinary Capers, “we had big out of town clients planning conferences in Vancouver, and they just couldn’t understand why our bartender could pour the liquor, yet they’d be the ones responsible for purchasing, transporting and enforcing the regulations.”