Matt Phillips

More businesses allowed to apply for liquor licences

Businesses like barber shops, salons, spas, and book stores will be able to serve alcohol to customers beginning in January.

Businesses like barber shops, salons, spas, cooking schools, art galleries, and book stores will be able to serve alcohol to customers beginning in January.

All types of businesses will be able to apply for the liquor primary license, so long as they do not operate from a motor vehicle, or operate a business primarily targeting minors.

John Yap, parliamentary secretary for Liquor Policy Reform and author of the Yap Report that formed the basis for the new law, said the new changes are an exciting move.

“We want to bolster creativity and innovation, not create barriers and red tape,” said Yap, adding the changes open the door for new business possibilities throughout B.C.

Matt Phillips, founder of Phillips Brewing and Malting Co., is thrilled by the changes.

“This is a move that will support local craft brewers and, in turn, continue to help create a thriving craft beer industry in B.C.,” said Phillips.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps expressed her support for the move to create more ingenuity and space for growth for Victoria businesses. She said the City of Victoria will continue to work closely with the province to support common sense liquor laws and sensible regulations while stripping away unnecessary hurdles to businesses.

To ensure that public health and safety concerns are safeguarded, businesses wishing to serve alcohol will have to go through the same licensing processes as other establishments, including the requirement that all staff serving liquor are Serving-It-Right certified.

The change in regulations is part of the B.C. government’s move to modernize regulations governing the sale and consumption of alcohol, introduced in 2015 as part of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act. The act made a number of changes in the province, including the sale of some alcohol in grocery stores.

The new regulations take effect Jan. 23.