The Yukon Modernizes its Liquor Laws
On August 18, 2016 the Minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corporation announced a series of changes to the Yukon’s liquor laws in line with the government’s previous commitment to “modernize and streamline liquor regulations”. In all, 26 regulatory changes were announced that came into effect immediately. The President of the Yukon Liquor Corporation described the changes as improving consumer convenience, reducing administrative processes and clarifying business practices. Laudable goals indeed. The press release and full list of regulatory changes can be found here.
Without question these changes to the Yukon’s liquor laws are progressive and tangible, bringing Yukon more in line with British Columbia and other Canadian provinces. From a consumer/patron point of view the most significant changes in the Yukon regime have been enjoyed by British Columbians for years, including:
- Allowing restaurants to introduce a corking service for patrons who wish to bring their own bottle of wine (introduced in British Columbia in 2012)
- Permitting homemade beer and wine to bed served at weddings and other intimate gatherings (introduced in British Columbia in 2014)
- Permitting liquor manufacturers to offer product training (long standing policy in British Columbia updated in 2016)
However other regulatory changes such as removing the limit on the number of beer or cider that can be sold at one time in a sports stadium are consumer-friendly, but do not go as far as to permit the sale of spirits in stadiums – a privilege British Columbians have been enjoying since 2014.
What cannot be overlooked is the territory’s aggressive wholesale pricing regime: effective February 1, 2015 Yukon licensees could purchase liquor products at a wholesale price of 10% less than retail. Incredibly, on July 5, 2016 the Yukon government announced “additional savings” on the price that the Yukon’s food and beverage industry have to pay of draft beer and cider. By the end of the year the Yukon Liquor corporation intends to introduce clear and consistent pricing reductions across all other categories of liquor products.
In terms of wholesale pricing for bars and restaurants the Yukon is well ahead of British Columbia in supporting the hospitality sector, and is a leader amongst Canadian provinces and territories.
Alcohol & Advocacy looks forward to monitoring the Yukon’s progress closely, and reporting back to readers.