We have all had the experience: that niggling suspicion that the bar or nightclub we’re in is watering down its booze – or maybe that the liquor coming out of the bottle isn’t of the same quality as the label would suggest. Personally I’ve only ever felt that way in questionable nightclubs, but as the decision of the General Manager of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch in re 395047 B.C. Ltd. dba Boston Pizza makes clear, even family-friendly chain restaurants can fall into the trap of cutting corners with their liquor supply.
It’s not just retail stores and busy pubs that attract the attention of liquor inspectors and their masters at the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. As the decision of the General Manager in re Tri-Cities Wine Kitz, case EH11-068, explains, even mild-mannered UBrew/UVins can attract the ire of the Compliance and Enforcement Program.
Alcohol & Advocacy routinely provides readers with an “insiders” look at how the liquor laws in British Columbia are written, interpreted, and applied. At A&A we often write about the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch making “decisions” and issuing licences as well as fines – this is what lawyers call “administrative law”. But what is admin law?
On April 23, 2015 the Supreme Court of British Columbia released its reasons in The Cambie Malone’s Corporation v. British Columbia (Liquor Control and Licensing Branch).
This past Easter long weekend I had the pleasure of visiting a handful of wineries in Naramata, speaking to their owners, and or course sampling their products. The Naramata Bench offers a truly world class wine tasting and touring experience complete with modern facilities and stunning views of Lake Okanagan. It was fitting that on April 1, 2015 (the day before I left for wine country) the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch published its Sampling & Tasting Policy Consultation bulletin. Currently in British Columbia there is no maximum volume or quantity of free samples a winery, brewery or distillery is permitted to offer on its manufacturing site. I worry that may change.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day which means big business for the bar industry. It also means that customers are likely to show up at your establishment early, and stay late. Other patrons will spend the day hoping between bars, stopping by for a pint or two before moving onto their next destination. The day should be profitable, and run smoothly, provided you have the proper staffing, security, and management in place.
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.