Legislature Meeting

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_custom_heading text=”BC Legislature Meeting, Victoria, 11/03/2013″ font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Montserrat%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Rick Green, President, CAMRA BC, pres@camrabc.ca
Maureen Blaseckie, VP, CAMRA BC, vp@camrabc.ca
Adam Chatburn, President CAMRA BC – Vancouver Chapter, pres@camravancouver.ca

1. Growler “Tax”
Growlers are 1 or 1.89-litre refillable glass jugs used by brewpubs and breweries to sell direct to consumers. They were widely used prior to Prohibition and are regaining popularity with craft beer consumers. The LDB has recently reclassified growler fills. Beginning April 1, they will be subject to a 30% higher markup at point of sale.

  • Growlers are substantially different from bottles & cans, and should not be charged the same markup.
  • Refills are a minimal cost to the LDB in terms of administration and logistics.
  • Growlers generate much less waste & carbon than traditional packaged products.
  • Growler sales lower market barriers to entry, increasing employment, competition and consumer choice.
  • Growlers enable innovation, test marketing smaller batches that can’t get an LDB listing.
  • Some nano-breweries sell up to 50% of their production in growlers, some 100%.
  • Strong public reaction against higher markup via Save the Growler petition: 1300+ signatures in 10 days.
  • Increased awareness about growlers has increased sales, creating a revenue positive position.
  • Some push back from LRSs and hospitality industry, but it’s a small percentage of overall beer sales.
  • We suggest an immediate switch to the “draught” markup would be a negligible-cost win for both.
  • Future consideration: reduce growler markups for nanobreweries producing less than 5 HL annually.

2. Government Liquor Store Policy
A BCLDB manager is speaking at BrewExpo America to encourage more US exports to BC. Yet, when BC craft beer is enjoying rapid growth, local brewers struggle to get LDB listings. We feel this is a wrong move. As with success of BC wine, focus should be on local producers & jobs, rather than encouraging money to flow out of province.

  • Restrictive LDB policy limits listings given to smaller craft brewers.
  • Private liquor stores make more money from premium BC craft beer sales.
  • BCLSs have an outdated business model, focusing on volume rather than customer service & greater choice.
  • Small BC breweries can’t export, so the home market is especially important.
  • We suggest a review of LDB policy to catch up with the new craft beer culture, helping BC small businesses.
  • Possible push back from bigger breweries and LDB, but small potential change that may not cause problems.
  • Future consideration: BC Craft Beer Envoy (as with BC wine) to lead the charge & facilitate exports.

3. Festivals and Farmers’ Markets
LDB policy inhibits hosting beer festivals that attract both domestic and international tourists. Some festivals have been successful without incident for many years. We’d like to see more of them to showcase local products. Farmers markets are also ideal to present these artisanal products. Craft beer & wine have proved very successful at farmers markets in other jurisdictions.

  • Farmers markets are interested in having craft beer & wine available.
  • A great way to move towards legal parity with wine.
  • No drinking at the market, just takeaway bottles & growler fills.
  • Allowing off-sales and growler fills at festivals.
  • Local, sustainable, environmental produce that can’t get LDB listings.
  • We suggest a summer trial of three markets in Vancouver, Victoria and the Okanagan – one stall in each.
  • Potential push back from LRSs, LDB and police, but a brief trial of a few hours a week is not significant.

Other CAMRA BC issues:

CAMRA BC would like craft beer to have legal parity with wine. There’s no reason for wine to have special exceptions in law that shouldn’t also apply to craft beer, cider and other alcoholic beverages. Positive advances have been made. Singling out wine for special treatment is unfair.

Pursuing this policy would allow for:

  • Inter-provincial trade and exports
  • Craft beer to be served in BC winery restaurants
  • “Farmgate” exceptions for 100% BC-produced craft beer
  • Simplified festival organization
  • The successful BYOB corkage program to be extended to include beer.

CAMRA BC is against any form of impaired driving and favours a slight extension of transit (especially Skytrain) operating hours. One extra hour on Friday and Saturday nights costs less than the equivalent night bus service and is safer for at-risk travellers:

  • Other groups, including MADD, are in favour of this as it would encourage greater responsibility.
  • Track maintenance schedules would not be significantly impacted by a limited service.
  • Longer opening hours have not been mirrored by transit who need to keep pace with customer needs.
  • A premium, late-night fare could be an excellent revenue stream.
  • Makes a firm commitment against impaired driving.

Last year, CAMRA BC began its FUSS campaign (Fess up to Serving Sizes) to reminded licenced establishments of their legal obligation to display the serving sizes of each of their drinks, along with their price, as the law was generally unenforced. Often, consumers were being sold “pints” under 20oz (20oz being legally defined as a pint in Canada). Karen Ayers and Rich Coleman refused to make companies comply with the law, preferring to talk about their work ridding Granville Street of gangsters (attached). Even with the campaign, this received very little government support.
CAMRA suggests that, as in the past, all beer glassware in BC be marked with volume labels, and that existing serving size regulations be properly enforced, in line with other BCLDB policies.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *