B.C. craft distiller lobbies new provincial government

Spirits manufacturers want same regulations as brewers and winemakers

Spirits manufacturers want same regulations as brewers and winemakers

Goodridge & Williams, makers of Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka and other spirits, has written an open letter to the new B.C. government on behalf of the province’s craft distilling sector, hoping to spur discussion about industry regulations. According to the company, independent B.C. distillers have long lobbied for levelling the playing field to offer craft distillers the same regulatory advantages currently offered to local winemakers and brewers but were unable to make any progress with the outgoing Liberal government.

The letter says,

Over the past decades, British Columbia’s economy has benefitted enormously from the rapid growth of its domestic winemaking and brewing industries. These BC-owned companies have created thousands and thousands of jobs and pumped tens of millions of dollars into local economies.

BC’s government has supported this growth with regulatory benefits which have levelled the playing field between these domestic businesses and the giant international conglomerates which dominate liquor store shelves.

The effects have been manifold and brilliant for British Columbians: better wines and beers to enjoy, sustainable local jobs and businesses, and entirely new industries like wine and beer tour companies to show off these makers to visitors and locals alike.

For some reason, the outgoing BC Liberal government chose not to see the same opportunity in the province’s independent distilling industry. They forced these small, local businesses to compete against the multi-billion-dollar distillers without the same support they offered winemakers and brewers. That’s one possible reason why locally made spirits continue to be seen as a curiosity while local beers and wines are commonplace.

On behalf of BC’s independent distillers, Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka would like to welcome the new NDP and Green coalition government with the sincere hope that they’ll see the essential fairness in levelling the playing field across all segments of BC’s alcohol business. By offering the same regulatory structure to distillers, they can turn loose the passion, talent and creativity of these businesses to make great products, create more jobs, and pump more money into the economy.

We’d like to see more great made-in-BC products on the shelves and in people’s homes, and more people working in local-owned businesses. And all it takes to get this started is to manage independent BC distillers the same as winemakers and brewers are currently treated.

Fairness, it’s not too much to ask.