The bar industry is notoriously competitive. A pub can be packed one weekend, and be a ghost town the next. To survive bars and restaurants have to do a lot of things right. The same is true for breweries and distilleries. Vancouver is enjoying significant growth in the beverage industry at present, but consumers can be fickle, and there are no guarantees in this business.
Clever advertising and an engaging social media presence are significant aspects of many successful businesses, and the hospitality and brewing industry is no exception. The competition for patron dollars and loyalty is fierce in British Columbia, particularly in Vancouver. With British Columbians enjoying an ever widening variety of locally made craft beer, wine and spirits and exciting new venues to consume them in, connecting with the public through creative and targeted advertising is more important than ever. Unlike other industries though, the liquor production and service industry is heavily regulated and those regulations control how a licensed establishment or manufacturer is permitted to advertise.
UPDATE: Beginning January 23, 2017 licensees will be permitted to infuse liquor and age cocktails at the establishment, provided it is done in a container other than the original container the liquor was in when legally purchased. All conditions outlined in the terms and conditions of a licence must be met when infusing liquor or ageing cocktails
Barrel-aged cocktails (spirit-only mixtures aged in new or used oak casks) have become a popular fixture in craft cocktail bars across North America. Cocktails aged in oak can develop deep and complex flavours – breathing new life into classic concoctions. As this 2010 New York Times article reports, barrel-aged cocktails are being poured from San Francisco to Boston. They’re also being casked and poured in Vancouver. Unfortunately that is violation of the Regulation of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act as well as the terms and conditions contained in the Guide for Liquor Primary Licensees in British Columbia.
All licensees in British Columbia are responsible for knowing and complying with the rules set out in the Liquor Control and Licensing Act, the Regulation as well as the terms of their licence. This includes liquor agents.
The Federal Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and directed that the Registrar of Trade-marks allow Glenora’s application to register Glen Breton. Although the Association sought leave to further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, leave was denied, thus bringing the Battle of the Glen to a close in Glenora’s favour.
When Glenora applied to Register “Glen Breton” as a trade-mark for use in association with its whisky, the Association opposed the registration. Specifically the Association challenged Glenora’s ability to use a mark prefixed with the word “glen” for its whisky. It claimed that the use of “glen”-prefixed marks in association with several well-known single malt Scotches, including Glenlivet, Glenmorangie and Glenfiddich, has resulted in an association in consumers’ minds between the word “glen” and whiskies distilled in Scotland.
When is Scotch whisky not Scotch whisky?
In response to Recommendations #3, #4 and #5 contained in the Final Report, the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch is considering a requirement that in 2015 all licensed establishments and liquor stores display “social responsibility educational materials” in their premises.
Though Mr. Yap’s Final Report has been widely praised for its progressive recommendations related to the production and sale of alcohol in British Columbia, there are nevertheless recommendations contained in the Report that should be of concern to licensees.
The minimum wage in British Columbia is set out in the Regulation of the Employment Standards Act. Since May 1, 2011 there has been a separate minimum wage for employees who serve liquor in British Columbia. The general minimum wage is currently $10.25 per hour, whereas the minimum wage for those who serve liquor is $9.00 per hour.