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Premier Clark supports 12 liquor reforms 0

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver



Premier Christy Clark showed support for buying alcohol at farmers’ markets and tasting events Wednesday, while expressing public safety concerns if booze is sold in grocery stores.

In November, parliamentary secretary John Yap submitted his review of B.C.’s liquor laws, recommending booze be available in grocery stores. This idea sparked an outcry from owners of private liquor stores.

During a press conference at an Okanagan Valley winery, Clark listed 12 recommendations she supports, including extending the space for liquor sales at ski areas and golf courses. Not on the list was the grocery store proposal, but Clark did not rule it out.

“We’re working on how the proposal would look,” Clark said. “Change is coming, people asked for change.”

On Nov. 28, the B.C. Association of Beverage Licensees issued a press release outlining what it called the “serious risks” of selling alcohol in grocery stores, and criticizing Yap’s recommendation to do so.

“Mr. Yap’s findings also fail to recognize that the current model is already convenient for consumers,” said the release. “There are very few places around the province you will not find a liquor store already located within 100m of a grocery store, and having a separate liquor checkout inside a grocery store will not improve convenience.”

ABLE had said the move to sell liquor in grocery stores could cut into the business of private storeowners, who were previously encouraged by the province to open up shops.

Many of the recommendations Clark supported Wednesday were geared toward promotion of the B.C. liquor industry rather than access to and consumption of alcohol.

The premier also supported better marketing of made-in-B.C. liquor in stores across the province, and a “quality assurance” regimen for craft beer and artisan distilled spirits.




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