Penticton microbreweries thrilled with government liquor store changes

PENTICTON — There’s some good news for people who enjoy BC craft beer and the people producing them.

Regulations have been changed so craft breweries can have more of their products sold in nearby government liquor stores.

“We have the ability now to go in and sell them two non-listed products. Previous to that, we only had one item listed with the [BC Liquor Distribution Branch], and we had to go to each store just to sell one product. So when our delivery company drops off, dropping one product isn’t very cost effective,” says Martin Lewis, a co-owner of Bad Tattoo Brewing.

Now, liquor stores can stock two more products from six nearby microbreweries. Those beers must be ones that aren’t already listed in the distribution branch’s system.

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Patt Dyck, co-owner of Cannery Brewery, says it is too early to tell how the provincial changes will affect her business.

She prides the Cannery in making seasonal products, which are usually not available at government outlets.

“We will continue with beers that are not available all the time, and sometimes that doesn’t work very well with government liquor stores, but works very well for the private liquor store,” Dyck says.

Clancy’s Liquor Store in downtown Penticton sells one of Cannery’s limited edition beers: the Triathalger.

Store manager Alanna Meneilly believes the changes may make it more difficult to compete with government liquor stores.

“It is harder and harder to find our niche. We do rely on special items and items government stores can’t carry,” she says.

The changes are now in effect. About 100 microbreweries can take advantage of the new program.