February 19, 2016
BC government has just released new details on auctioning off licenses for the sale of BC wine on grocery store shelves:
- Grocery store will have the chance to bid on six opportunities to apply for a license to sell 100% BC wine, cider, and sake off grocery store shelves.
- The right to apply for these licenses will be auctioned off individually online. The first round of auctions is scheduled to take place in late April.
- Government suggest the “end goal” is to allow for up to 18 licenses. The remaining auctions will beconducted at a later date that is yet to be determined.
- Only grocery stores that meet specified regulatory criteria will be eligible to bid (i.e. minimum of 10,000 SF).
- A registration, pre-screening, and $25,000 deposit is required for all bidders for each license they are bidding on. The minimum bid for each auction is $125,000.
- Government has also expanded BC Wine Institute sales to include all 100% BC wine products. This change is “to give B.C.’s smaller, non-VQA wineries more opportunity to get their products into stores.” This means that all 21 licenses held by the BCWI are now authorized to sell all 100% BC wine products, rather than just VQA wines.
ABLE BC has been invited to a technical briefing on these changes next week. We will have more details available for our members then.
We commend the government for clarifying that the sale of BC beer wine is not included in these licensesand that they are staggering the release of the licenses to allow the market time to adapt.
However, unlike private liquor stores and government liquor stores, these licenses will not be subject to the 1.0 kilometre distance rule. This gives grocery stores an unfair competitive advantage and goes against the spirit of the “level playing field” promised by government, all while offering no added benefit to consumers. The Alliance will continue to work with BC’s municipalities on implementing a 1 km distance requirement between all retailers of beverage alcohol in your communities.
- For information on the details of the auction and who is eligible visit: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/lclb/docs-forms/auction-sws-information-interested-parties.pdf
- For the policy directive outlining new regulations for special wine stores and the auction visit: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/lclb/docs-forms/policy-directive-2016-02.pdf