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In BC, getting lit while running errands just got a whole lot easier

By Jennie Orton

John Yap, Matthew Conrad of Victory Barber & Brand, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, and Matt Phillips of Phillips brewing get ready to embrace the drink.

VANCOUVER — Tired of getting a haircut without a glass of champagne like a chump? Well chump no longer, friends: the option will become yours on January 23, 2017. Like a late Christmas gift to British Columbia, the province will be modernizing BC liquor laws and thus offering the option of a liquor pairing to most of our life experiences.

The new rules, part of the Liquor Policy Review done by Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform John Yap approved by the Province in 2014, are meant to bring BC liquor laws—which previously weren’t examined for over a decade—into the 21st century and better demonstrate the “Values of British Columbians in today’s world.”

“Since 2013, we have been working to modernize antiquated liquor laws,” Yap says. “We want the rules to complement businesses, not hinder them. We want to bolster creativity and innovation, not create barriers and red tape. Allowing all types of businesses to apply for a liquor licence creates other business possibilities for BC businesses.”

The new rules include such things as making liquor licenses available to any and all businesses (with the exception of businesses that mainly cater to children and business that operate out of motor vehicles), allowing licenses for farmers and artisan markets, and allowing licensed restaurants, bars, manufacturers, and caterers to age and infuse liquor in order to create their own unique craft cocktails.

The latter, a truly Vancouver notion, is something Yap believes will enable a growing craft liquor and food pairing presence to blossom, thus benefiting not only local businesses, but also the province’s cultural identity.

“We have some excellent producers here in BC,” he states. “There were 70 wineries in BC in 2000 and today we have over 300. There is also a craft brewing industry that has taken off exponentially. It is very much reflective of the fact that there is a growing demand for high quality products and we have creative British Columbians, entrepreneurial British Columbians, who have seen the opportunity and are creating excellent products to meet the needs of the market.”

Showcasing local talent in the production and presentation of craft liquor also boosts our appeal for tourism, something that always bodes well for the economic position of a province.

For those of you shuddering at the idea of exponentially more British Columbians running around full of grain and grape, Yap assures that equally as accessible measures are being taken to educate people and promote physical safety. Applicants for licenses will still have to meet the legal criteria to serve alcohol. They will have to employ those with a Serving It Right certification, and will be held to the same legal accountability as bars. There will also be campaigns to promote awareness about drinking dangers such as binge drinking, particularly at college campuses.

It would appear that Vancouver, often known for being uptight and unfriendly, is about to let its hair down in all directions. Welcome to the 21st century: let’s go drink a Tom Collins while record shopping.

For more information about the new regulations, visit engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/impact/bc-liquor-policy-review-results.

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