February 23, 2021

Dear ABLE BC members and industry colleagues,

Today, British Columbia’s Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced one of the most significant liquor policy changes in a generation: BC’s hospitality industry will now be able to access wholesale liquor prices permanently. This has been one of most urgent requests from thousands of small hospitality businesses struggling to recover from the devastating financial impacts of COVID-19.

Read the government news release here.

Minister Farnworth really came through for BC’s struggling hospitality industry today. This is exactly the kind of support and certainty our businesses need to recover, and to help keep our industry’s 190,000 workers employed.

As you know, hospitality businesses had been granted temporary access to wholesale prices in June 2020, but the permission was set to expire March 31. Accessing wholesale prices will reduce the cost of liquor purchases for pubs and restaurants by as much as 20 per cent, which could translate into about five per cent savings that goes directly to their bottom line.

“This will help thousands of neighbourhood pubs and restaurants walk back from the brink of bankruptcy and give them a legitimate chance at surviving the COVID-19 crisis,” said Al McCreary, President of ABLE BC’s Board of Directors.

“With about 80 per cent of BC’s pubs and restaurants slipping deeper into debt every month, this announcement could not have come at a better time.” “This is huge for our business,” said ABLE Brendan Bonfield, Director of Operations at Darby’s Hospitality Inc. “It will help us weather the pandemic financially and keep people employed, while also giving our customers better options that were unaffordable until now.”

Read ABLE BC’s news release here.

Positive change through partnership

Although industry has been seeking this change since wholesale pricing for liquor retailers was introduced in 2015, today’s announcement comes as a direct result of ongoing advocacy efforts by ABLE BC and the Business Technical Advisory Panel (BTAP).

ABLE BC has been proud to work alongside the BCRFA, BC Craft Brewers Guild, and others as part of BTAP, which was been advising government on liquor policy reforms since 2018 and throughout this COVID crisis.

More policy work underway

In addition to changes to the hospitality pricing model, work is underway by government on several other measures identified within BTAP’s report. We will share more information with you as it becomes available.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC: info@ablebc.ca.

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