Fighting for your interests

The Alliance of Beverage Licensees is the united voice of British Columbia’s private liquor industry. Our primary goal is to help build a thriving and sustainable liquor industry in BC by fighting for your interests, enhancing private sector opportunities, and proactively solving industry challenges.

We work behind-the-scenes with all levels of government and build partnerships across the industry so we can find common solutions to shared challenges.

Some of the issues we worked on in 2016-17 include:

  • Limit number of licenses for 100% BC wine sales in grocery stores
  • Improve in-stocks at LDB and reduce lead time on spec products
  • Increase sampling sizes and allow retailers to charge for samples
  • Remove restrictions on size of kegs of beer or cider sold by private retailers
  • Flexibility to extend hours of liquor service at liquor primaries
  • Allow licensees to infuse liquor and age cocktails
  • Allow licensees to choose between a monetary penalty or license suspension and apply for reconsideration of enforcement decisions
  • Allow liquor primaries to relocate anywhere in the province
  • Liquor can be delivered to hotel guests by room service 24 hours a day
  • Hotel guests can take unfinished alcoholic beverages from bar or restaurant to their room
  • Hotels can serve one standard free alcoholic drink to guests at check-in

New government, new opportunities

For the first time in 16 years, British Columbians have a new provincial government. Although this political change will mean a period of uncertainty for BC’s private liquor industry, it also offers us considerable opportunities. ABLE BC has been working hard to ensure Premier Horgan, his Ministers, all MLAs, and senior government staff are aware of our industry’s concerns and our vital contributions to BC’s economic health.

United voice for BC’s private liquor industry

In spring 2017, ABLE BC announced a new agreement with the BC Private Liquor Store Association (BCPLSA). The BCPLSA officially ceased operations and encouraged it members to join ABLE BC. This agreement means ABLE BC is now the sole voice of LRSs in British Columbia and it will allow us to represent our members’ interests by articulating one vision for the private liquor industry.

A summary of the issues we are advocating for in 2018 is provided below. For more information please download our Member Handbook or contact ABLE BC.

While the former government took positive steps to reduce red tape and modernize liquor laws in BC, there remains a tremendous amount of work to do.

In 2017-18, ABLE BC looks forward to working with the new government and advocating for key policy issues on behalf of our members.

Industry Issues

ABLE BC is advocating for the following industry-wide issues in 2018:

  • Ensure Premier Horgan, his Ministers, MLAs, and senior government staff understand our industry’s concerns and our vital contributions to BC’s economic health
  • Help the new provincial government succeed by responding to and supporting their political policy priorities, including participation in new liquor and minimum wage advisory groups
  • Create a fixed and transparent markup policy for hospitality products sold via the LDB but not at BC Liquor Stores
  • Modernize inducement policy to better reflect business relationships with suppliers
  • Continue to work with government partners to reduce red tape and promote logical business-friendly liquor policies
  • Grow our webinar series and online training tools designed with the liquor store or pub owner and manager in mind. These tools will help members find new ways to increase profitability and adapt and grow their businesses in British Columbia’s changing liquor landscape.

 

Licensee Retail Store Issues

ABLE BC is advocating for the following Licensee Retail Store issues in 2018:

  • Allow LRS to sell to restaurants, pubs, and other licensees
  • Allow LRS to retail recreational cannabis if legalized by the federal government
  • Allow LRS to sell and refill growlers
  • Increase product selection available on buyABLE
  • Improve wholesale pricing system to protect fragile profit margins
  • Improve LDB wholesale operations: access to live online inventory visibility and order tracking, improve in-stocks, reduce lead time on spec products, and enhance private sector demand forecasting
  • Maintain the 1 km distance separation and LRS moratorium

Liquor Primary Issues

ABLE BC is advocating for the following liquor primary issues in 2018:

  • Implement LDB discount for hospitality customers
  • Allow LP to purchase product from LDB Wholesale Customer Centre and get product delivered directly to their establishment
  • Allow LP to sell and refill growlers
  • Allow Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) in LP
  • Expand eligibility for flexible hours of liquor service
  • Create fixed and transparent markup policy for hospitality products sold via but not at BC Liquor Stores
  • Increase product selection available on buyABLE
  • Allow LP to legally offer table bottle service

Hotel Liquor Licensee Issues

ABLE BC is proud to represent the liquor policy interests of the BC Hotel Association. On their behalf we have advocated for the following positive policy changes:

  • Guests at a hotel with LP or FP can take unfinished alcoholic beverages from bar or restaurant to their room
  • Hotels and resorts with LP can serve one standard free alcoholic drink to guests in lobby or reception area at check-in
  • New streamlined application process allows golf courses and ski hills to temporarily extend licensed area
  • Liquor can now be delivered to hotel guests by room service 24 hours a day
  • Licensees now have additional flexibility in liquor licensing for special events

 

Legalization of non-medical cannabis

This summer, non-medical cannabis will be legalized by the federal government. British Columbians will be able to purchase cannabis through privately run retail stores or government-operated retail stores and online sales.

For more information, including a copy of the provincial application guide for a cannabis retail license and current regulations, please visit our cannabis resources page or contact ABLE BC at 604-688-5560 or info@ablebc.ca.

Join our campaign to make a difference in your community

While of course ABLE BC was disappointed that government chose to prohibit co-location of alcohol and cannabis retail stores – especially given that there remains absolutely no evidence that co-location leads to or increase co-use – many of our retail members are still eager to invest in the industry.

ABLE BC is working with our municipal government partners to ensure they understand the experience and expertise our members bring to the table.

Our most urgent challenge remains helping local communities and municipalities enact sensible business-friendly policies that encourage investment. For example, it only makes sense that your extensive experience retailing a controlled substance in age-controlled environments is taken into account during the application process, as well as your history of compliance with stringent local bylaws and distance rules.

Given that the provincial cannabis framework allows every community to impose its own set of cannabis rules, we need your help to ensure that municipalities enact smart, business-friendly policies. To get involved in our campaign, please email our Executive Director Jeff Guignard at jeff@ablebc.ca.

Liquor Industry Business Technical Advisory Panel

In 2017, the Attorney General retained Mark Hicken as a liquor policy advisor to liaise with industry stakeholders and provide recommendations to government on ways to support BC’s liquor industry.

Mr. Hicken chairs a Business Technical Advisory Panel comprised of industry stakeholders, including ABLE BC. After several days of highly productive deliberations and hearings in March and April 2018, the committee found a wide range of consensus on our shared challenges and was able to unite behind several workable solutions.

In April, the committee submitted their first report to government, which included recommendations on hospitality pricing, licensee sales, GLS operations, LCLB policy and licensing issues, LDB distribution and delivery, and industry social responsibility.

We will share a copy of the report when it becomes publicly available.

Ready to join? Become a member today.

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