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?
This past week it came to light that people were dying in a slum of Mumbai, India, from drinking “tainted” moonshine. Over 150 people are suspected of having consumed the illicit methanol-laced liquor, and at the time of writing 94 people have died. Methanol, or methyl alcohol, is a highly toxic form of alcohol (sometimes used as anti-freeze or fuel), that is often added to bootlegged liquor as an easy way to increase the alcohol content. Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is the name of beverage-grade alcohol.
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).
Government Bill 27, what will become the “new” Liquor Control and Licensing Act has been available online for almost a month now, and while the language that appears in Bill 27 will probably become law without significant revision, it is important for industry stakeholders to understand that process. Though much of the criticism and confusion surrounding the implementation of last year’s Final Report is well placed, some of it stems from the public’s lack of understanding of the legislative process. If you have serious concerns about liquor law reform in this province, now is the time to contact your MLA and engage in the political process.
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.
For liquor industry insiders the start of 2015 has been marked with frequent, and sometimes confusing, communications from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch describing recent changes to the Regulation and new policies.
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.
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.