NEWS — B.C. officially opened the door to happy hours and implemented minimum drink pricing today.
Flowing out of the province’s liquor policy review, B.C.’s minimum drink prices are in place, based on ounces of alcohol sold at licensed establishments. The minimum price an establishment can charge is $3 for a drink — which, for example, would buy a single-ounce cocktail, a five-ounce glass of wine or 12-ounce sleeve of beer or cider.
Other changes stemming from the liquor policy review also came into effect today.
Food-primary establishments must continue to offer a full menu, but if patrons simply wish to order drinks they are not obligated to order food as well. Also, customers can now move freely with their beverage from one adjoining licensed area to another, such as from a pub to an adjoining restaurant.
Licensees may now transfer small amounts of liquor between similar types of establishments. If a pub is experiencing a shortage of a specific liquor product, a nearby restaurant can transfer liquor to it, or a liquor store can transfer alcohol to another store with the same kind of liquor licence.
Hosts of family Special Occasion Licence (SOL) events may now serve homemade and UBrew/UVin beer, wine or cider. Owners of UBrews and UVins, as well as their family members, are now permitted to own other liquor-related establishments.
“Implementing minimum drink prices is an important part of our commitment to protect health and safety, as we move forward on modernizing B.C.’s liquor laws,” said Attorney General Suzanne Anton.
“In setting the minimum price, it was important to us that we listened to both industry and health advocates. We have done that and I believe establishing a $3 per drink minimum achieves a good balance for them, and for British Columbians.
“By allowing establishments to offer happy hours, as long as they adhere to the new minimum prices, consumers will have more chances to save a few dollars throughout the week and continue to support their local businesses.”