“Our framework for liquor sales in grocery stores lays the foundation for a flexible and unique model that will continue to protect health and public safety, enhance convenience and choice for consumers and drive our economy forward with the promotion of made-in-BC products," says Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton.
The BC Wine Insitute, representing 137 member wineries throughout the province, was quick to lend their support of the policy changes.
"BC consumers having long supported 'buy-local' and specifically the BC VQA Wine industry," says Miles Prodan, President & CEO, BC Wine Institute. "Premier Clark and Government's announcement of having BC VQA Wine available in grocery store aisles will increase exposure for people to enjoy or discover our world class 100% BC Wine."
The “store-within-a-store” model will allow for sales of beer, wine and spirits in grocery stores through separate cashiers, safeguarding health and safety and ensuring restricted access to alcohol by minors.
A second model will be flexible to accommodate VQA licences, as well as a limited number of new licences that sell VQA wine in grocery stores. Under this model, VQA wine will be allowed to be sold off designated shelves within the store, and purchased at designated check-out tills.
"The success to date of the BC VQA Wine Stores demonstrates strong consumer support for the BC wine industry," says Prodan. "Expanding the model to aisles in grocery stores will help drive forward a $2 billion per year industry, create jobs and stimulate the economy."
Convenience stores will not be included in the definition of 'grocery stores' and the current moratorium on the number of private liquor stores will remain in place.
The BC Government has set a target of early 2015 to implement the two-part model.