Last week the provincial government made some significant amendments which affect many of the craft breweries here in Vancouver. It gives them the option of obtaining licence endorsements allowing special events and “lounges”. This means that breweries could apply to serve more than 12oz of beer per person per day in their tasting rooms, just like a winery. This is something CAMRA has been campaigning for and we were all very excited to hear the news as this will go a long way to help the craft beer industry and making Vancouver a destination for beer tourists.
Paddy Treavor of the Van East Beer Blog said “The confusing thing is that the tasting rooms are already in place and operating in some breweries. The move simply would allow the breweries to sell their product as opposed to giving it away”. Some breweries are putting their plans for tasting rooms on hold until this uncertainty is resolved.
Despite the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch stating that this will be “treated as an endorsement on the manufacturer licence, rather than a separate liquor primary licence”, the City of Vancouver remains intractable and uncommunicative. I will be meeting with City Councillors and MLAs over the next few weeks to talk about the issue and I will keep you informed of our progress. I urge CAMRA members to contact their MLAs, City Councillors, and theCity of Vancouver’s Liquor
February 20th 2013
Tied house and beer lounge changes.
The Provincial government today made an important decision regarding the future of craft beer in BC. By deciding to relax the laws around tied-houses they have removed an obstacle that will allow craft breweries to sell their beer in up to three establishments that they own. Previously a bar, restaurant or private liquor store was not permitted to sell beer made by the same company unless it was designated as an onsite brew-pub. This change will also allow breweries to have ‘beer lounge’ tasting rooms that can serve more than the current 12oz maximum, something that is going to go a very long way to making BC a better destination for the growing craft beer tourist market and makes it easier for local enthusiasts to access local beer.
There are a number of other changes that were announced at the same time, including allowing licensees to sponsor events, activities and organizations. It will take months for the full impact of all these changes to be understood and felt and hopefully this will lead to beer gaining legal parity with wine.
This is a great victory for craft brewing in BC and I would like to thank the many CAMRA members and volunteers who helped put pressure on the government for these changes.
There is a huge desire for real change to the archaic liquor laws in BC and this is a step in the right direction, let us hope that the government sticks with these changes and doesn’t U-turn when faced with an avalanche of licence applications in March.
February 6th 2013