January 23, 2018

Dear ABLE BC Members,

As you may know, last Thursday, BC liquor inspectors seized thousands of dollars of whisky from establishments on Vancouver Island and in Vancouver in what has been dubbed by media a “Prohibition-style raid.”

To be clear, in British Columbia, liquor products sold by bars and restaurants must be bought through the LDB or BC Liquor Stores and recorded in a liquor register. Unfortunately, the LDB only distributes Scotch Malt Whisky Society products to private stores, so they are not available for sale to bars and restaurants.

ABLE BC encourages members to abide by all liquor laws, even when those laws need to change. We understand that this is deeply frustrating for businesses as well as customers. In our opinion, the policy that led to nearly $100,000 worth of whisky being seized from four licensed, tax-paying establishments, is outdated, illogical, and not in the best interests of consumers.

Since the incident, ABLE BC has in regular contact with the LCLB. We are also working with the Ministry of Attorney General and other senior officials to ensure they understand the severity of this issue and the importance of resolving it for the industry.

ABLE BC also recently met with Mark Hicken, the government-appointed liquor policy advisor, to discuss several needed policy changes. As part of our submission to Hicken, we strongly encouraged government to allow restaurants and bars to buy directly from the private sector.

ABLE BC also joined a group of representatives from restaurants, wineries, craft breweries, distilleries, and agents to submit a joint report to Hicken, outlining our collective industry priorities.

It is our hope that this industry-wide collaboration will assist our government partners in moving quickly to address our concerns on this issue. We will provide updates as they become available.

SIGN THE PETITION: help move the issue of allowing licensee sales forward

An online petition has been launched by a third party to “Free the Whisky”: https://www.change.org/p/free-the-whisky-british-columbia.

The petition asks government to reconsider and reverse the recent confiscation of whisky from the above-mentioned establishments. It also asks for a reconsideration and reversal of the policies that prevent small businesses from procuring legal liquor from private retail stores within British Columbia – i.e. by allowing licensee sales.

We encourage members to sign the petition and share with your staff to help move forward the issue of allowing licensee sales.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Jeff Guignard (ABLE BC Executive Director) at 604-688-5560 or jeff@ablebc.ca.

BC Liquor Inspectors

LCLB inspections are complaint driven. When a complaint is received, the branch is legally obliged to follow-up:

“LCLB follows up on all complaints whether the complaint is made directly to staff or made through LCLB’s formal complaints process. This is to ensure fairness to all licensees, and to prevent law-abiding businesses from being put at a disadvantage by businesses that do not follow legal requirements.”

ABLE BC has learned that some industry members have posted on social media, threatening the safety of liquor inspectors. While we understand the frustration of inspections and outdated laws, this response is offensive, inappropriate, and against the law.

ABLE BC is proud to work in partnership with the Ministry of Attorney General, LCLB, LDB, and other government officials to resolve issues in a respectful and productive way.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Jeff Guignard (ABLE BC Executive Director) at 604-688-5560 or jeff@ablebc.ca.

Strengthen our voice: refer a new member to ABLE BC

Our Alliance is only as strong as the size of our collective voice. Our solid membership base of over 1,000 licenses lends strength, credibility, and weight to our advocacy efforts with government and other stakeholders.

Do you know a licensee who is not yet a member of the Alliance?Forward them this email and ask them to join ABLE BC today. Licensees can sign-up for a membership instantly at ABLEBC.ca.

With your help, ABLE BC will continue to work on behalf of a united liquor industry to advance private sector liquor opportunities in the year ahead.

For more information about ABLE BC membership and exclusive benefit programs: please download our Member Handbook or contact Danielle Leroux (Manager of Membership and Communications) at 604-688-5560 or danielle@ablebc.ca.

Join the fight! Become a member today.


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