Beer pitcher cost cut as province revises minimum liquor prices

Initial rules did not meet expectations, admits liquor reform czar John Yap

B.C.'s 'Happy Hour' upset some customers

The province has adjusted its new minimum prices for alcohol in the wake of criticism over the rollout of new rules allowing “happy hour” discounts.

A new category for draft beer creates a minimum charge of $12 for a 60-ounce pitcher – down from $15 previously announced – or $0.20 per ounce for large volumes over 50 ounces instead of $0.25, which still applies to smaller glasses and pints.

“Upon reviewing B.C.’s minimum prices, we realized they weren’t on par with consumers’ expectations and we took action to find a fair compromise that still upholds B.C.’s high standards for health and safety,” said MLA John Yap, who heads the province’s liquor policy reforms.

The new regulations let bars and restaurants charge lower prices for selective times or occasions, but forced some low-price establishments to raise prices to match the new minimums.

That will still be the case for pints in some locales – bars that had charged less than $5 must raise their prices to that minimum for 20 ounces.

The province has also increased the minimum price for spirits from $2 to $3 per ounce.

Addictions experts had called for higher minimum pricing to reduce health and safety risks to drinkers.

Alliance of Beverage Licensees executive director Jeff Guignard supported the spirit price increase in the interests of public safety, noting a patron previously could have bought five single-ounce shots for $10.

But he said the lower minimum beer pitcher price of $12 against a minimum 20-ounce pint price of $5 may encourage over-drinking and intoxication.

“You’re more likely to start sharing pitchers than you are to buy individual pints,” he said.

Provincial regulations limit a single serving of beer to 24 ounces, so pitchers can’t be ordered by a lone patron.

But Guignard noted it’s harder for a server to track how much patrons are drinking when they’re ordering beer by pitchers instead of glasses.

“You don’t know if a particular person has had one pint or had the entire pitcher.”

The new minimums mean little for bars and restaurants that charge higher prices already.

Guignard senses a “rural-urban divide” in which many Interior bars charging lower prices than the new minimum will have to raise prices, while that won’t generally be the case in much of the Lower Mainland, outside of parts of Vancouver.

He said the industry now hopes for stability and certainty.

“This is now the third time they’ve changed minimum pricing,” Guignard said. “It’s all a bit confusing and annoying.”

Lower prices can be selectively offered for “ladies night” specials or “team night” for players in uniform. Minimum prices do not apply to catered events, or special occasion licences.

 

 

New BC Happy Hour Prices

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Vancouver Island B.C. Hydro Customers without power

Due to high winds nearly 3,900 B.C. Hydro customer will be out of power

Sidney signs off on 2020 budget with 1.79 per cent tax increase

Budget also includes additional funding for Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

Search begins for two missing scouts near Sooke

Crews headed to Jordan River area after receiving call just after 2 p.m.

Scaffolding falls due to strong winds at Millstream Village Sunday afternoon

No injuries or vehicles damaged, according to West Shore RCMP

Cold water swimming a morning ritual for Willows Beach crew

Group turned heads when they slow-walked into the Polar Plunge

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read