A&A Automatic Liquor Dispensing

August, 2022 General Liquor Policy Changes

So far 2022 has been a relatively slow year for policy changes by British Columbia’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. Readers of A&A will know that over the last couple years (largely driven by COVID) government regulators had been rolling out some substantial changes to liquor policy. But 2022? Not so much.

That changed a little on August 15, 2022 when the Branch published Policy Directive No. 22-13 that contained six changes to liquor policy. The changes are as follows:

1 – Buying Liquor: the Terms and Conditions Handbooks have been updated to confirm that licensees may only purchase liquor for the purpose of selling or serving it. This subtle clarification confirms that a bar or restaurant cannot purchase liquor that it cannot lawfully sell.

2 – Automated Liquor Dispensing Systems (ADS): Are now permitted (yay?) provided the liquor being dispensed comes from the original container, and the ADSs are not set up in a seating area (e.g. table-top liquor dispensing).

3 – Glassware in Stadiums: If a licensee is offering a “formal dinner” (which includes buffet dinners) they may now serve liquor in glassware. Previously they were required to use disposable containers. How fancy.

4 – Liquor price list requirements regarding taxes: Licensees are no longer required to specify, in the price list, whether or not taxes are included and what the applicable taxes are. Yawn.

5 – Liquor incident log: This has long been a concept referred to in Branch literature, but we now have prescribed types of incidents and information that should be logged, as follows:

When an incident occurs in or adjacent to an establishment or event site, the details must be recorded in an incident log. All incidents that adversely affect patrons, staff, people who live or work in adjacent buildings, or that affect the operation of the establishment must be recorded in the log and be available to inspectors or peace officers. 

Examples of these incidents include:

  • Refusing entry at the door to a potentially troublesome person or anyone who is causing a disturbance;
  • Refusing entry of an intoxicated person; 
  • Removing an intoxicated person; 
  • An injury or accident on the premises, including a fight;
  • Any incidents where emergency personnel were called (police, fire, or ambulance); 
  • Any illegal acts.

An incident report should include key details such as the date, time and description of events, the parties involved, any action taken, and any relevant sales records. Other details such as the names of the employees on shift and witness accounts are also important.

The records in an incident log must be kept for at least six years.

If a licensee or an employee becomes aware that a patron has brought unlawful liquor into the establishment or event, they must ask the patron to leave the establishment or event immediately. This must be reported in the incident log.

6 – Branded Refrigerators:  Retail stores are permitted to accept a maximum of two manufacturer brand-identified refrigerators of which the combined total size cannot exceed 38 cubic feet. Just remember LRS operators: ownership of the refrigerator must be retained by the manufacturer; and the manufacturer cannot pay for the installation or maintenance costs of the refrigerator(s).

Dan Coles and the other lawyers at Owen Bird have significant experience in the liquor law and hospitality sector. Please give us a call if we can be of assistance to your or your operations.

*Alcohol & Advocacy publishes articles for information purposes only. They are not a substitute for legal advice, and persons requiring such advice should consult legal counsel

Dan Coles
Retired bartender. Young lawyer. From the East, living in the West. Interested in British Columbia's producers and purveyors of wine, beer and spirits.