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Grocery store liquor licences go on block

February 18, 2016 10:43 A.M.

Grocers will have a chance to bid on six opportunities to apply for a licence to sell B.C. wine, cider and sake off their shelves.

The Ministry of Small Business, which is responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch, announced Thursday that the right to apply for the licences will be auctioned off individually online, with staggered bidding opportunities at B.C .Auction. The first round of auctions is scheduled to take place in late April, and will ensure fairness and transparency while determining the eligibility for the first six licences.

The goal is to allow for up to 18 licences. Following an initial offering, the remaining auctions will be conducted at a later date that is yet to be determined. Interested parties will need to re-apply to participate in the remaining auctions.

Only grocery stores that meet specified regulatory criteria will be eligible to bid. Registration, pre-screening and a $25,000 deposit is required for all bidders for each licence they are bidding on. The $25,000 deposit will be refunded to all unsuccessful bidders.

The give B.C.’s smaller, non-VQA wineries more opportunity to get their products into stores, B.C. Wine Institute sales have been expanded to include all 100 percent B.C. wine products. This means that all 21 licences held by the B.C. Wine Institute are now authorized to sell all 100% B.C. wine products rather than just VQA wines.

The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch is holding a technical briefing conference call for interested grocery stores at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP by contacting liquorpolicyreview@gov.bc.ca by 4 p.m. on Feb. 22, 2016. Technical briefings for private liquor store associations and local governments through UBCM are also being arranged.

Willi Fortier says:
February 29, 2016 10:22pm

Am in New Zealand, no drunks roaming around the store or outside and they sell wine. Kamloops, as does the rest of BC has thier head up there(no sunshine). Since VanderZalm tightened liquor sales, people are reluctant to change. Let's move forward Kamloops!

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JM Birk says:
February 18, 2016 01:39pm

What a joke. Our neighbours in Washington state can go to any gas station or grocery store to buy their favourite beverage. Here? We are still in the Dark Ages. Embarassing. Foreign tourists must shake their heads.

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