B.C. liquor laws overhauled

Beer garden fencing gone, mixed drinks at sporting events allowed, streamlined private event licencing all part of 73 recommendations

The B.C. government has accepted all 73 recommendations to update liquor policy in British Columbia. While the timeline is still unclear

The B.C. government has accepted all 73 recommendations to update liquor policy in British Columbia. While the timeline is still unclear

Change is coming to B.C.’s antiquated liquor laws.

On Friday, Justice Minister Suzanne Anton accepted all 73 recommendations put forward in November by liquor policy reform parliamentary secretary John Yap. The government now faces the cumbersome task of drawing up legislation to introduce the changes.

Highlights include:

  • the elimination of beer garden fencing at festivals and entertainment events
  • simplification of the special occasion licence process and moving applications online
  • allowing the sale of mixed-spirit drinks at public licenced events and enabling hosts to serve UBrew/UVin at events, such as weddings
  • Increased flexibility at stadiums and arenas, permitting spirit-based liquor sales in the stands
  • Extending room service hours at hotels and allowing guests to move more freely with alcoholic beverages
  • establishing appropriate hours where minors can enter liquor primary establishments
  • increased promotion of B.C. craft beer, wine and spirit distilleries at B.C. liquor stores

At a press conference Friday, Anton told reporters some of the changes, including the elimination of beer garden fencing and increased alcohol options at sporting events, could be implemented by the summer.

In November, Yap announced the government would be introducing legislation to allow grocery stores to sell liquor, but few details have emerged on how that process will be implemented. In his report, Yap recommended a roll-out of new policy to allow private liquor stores time to make adjustments.

View highlights here and the full report here.