BRITISH COLUMBIA – Measures enacted by the Province in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that temporarily allow restaurants and pubs to purchase beer, wine and spirits at wholesale cost instead of liquor store retail prices came into effect on Monday, July 20, 2020.
“COVID-19 has been devastating for hospitality and tourism business owners, employees and their families throughout our province,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “We hope that the financial support that this change represents means the 8,500 restaurants and pubs that employ more than 190,000 British Columbians are able to survive this pandemic and be ready to thrive post-COVID.”
Hospitality customers who have registered with the Province’s Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) can now use a searchable hospitality price list to help with their buying decisions. A complete online hospitality product catalogue will launch Sept. 1, 2020.
The temporary authorization will remain in effect until March 31, 2021. A provincial review of the program during this temporary reform will help government determine the financial costs and benefits of the change.
“The pandemic has required businesses to innovate in ways they never could have predicted, and it’s important that government is also flexible,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “The hospitality sector asked for these changes and we acted quickly in order to protect jobs and help businesses stay afloat.”
Previously, hospitality licensees – including restaurants, pubs and tourism operators with liquor licences – paid full retail price (wholesale price, plus a retail mark-up set by the LDB) on most liquor purchases. The new model allows licensees to pay the wholesale price for the products they purchase, which is the same cost paid by government and private liquor stores in the province when they purchase stock for retail sale.