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Letter: Convenient laws won’t help locals vintners
To the editor:
I hope the public are understanding the changes that are being discussed in regard to the sale of alcohol and the repercussions that will come about if this new liquor policy is passed.
The recommendation of grocery store liquor sales is one of several expected in the final report, which John Yap, Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform, delivered to Justice Minister Suzanne Anton on Nov. 25. John Yap explains how “convenient” it would be to have grocery stores be permitted to sell alcohol.
OK, so let’s discuss this. It’s a fact that the supermarket would have to have a completely separate shop for the sale of alcohol, not unlike Costcos in the States. So, you shop for alcohol and line up to pay and then you shop for groceries and merchandise and line up to pay again, at a different cash register. Convenient? Not by my definition.
Not to mention the dangers of increased access to minors. The government says it will “examine a model where existing licensees, like private and government stores, move their operations inside a supermarket.” So here is another argument for this model. Which licensees will be selling their wines in these supermarkets? Being a boutique winery owner myself, I know for a fact it will not be us, nor will it be any of the other small, family-owned and operated wineries in B.C. We cannot afford to drop our price point to a number that suits a huge supermarket chain.
We will only lose if this reform is passed as a percentage of our potential customers will be lost. It’s not only the small wineries that will suffer, the family-owned licensees will also struggle.
For sure, the government liquor stores will have presence as will the larger corporate wineries and once again the small business owners get shafted.
There is no doubt that this new liquor policy will take effect eventually as this will only increase the taxes paid to the government on alcohol sales, which is their only intent even if they are trying to sell the changes as “convenience” to B.C. families.
The government always talks about the support for small business but their actions speak way louder than their words.