November 7, 2017 10:42 pm

Report blames high booze prices at bars and restaurants on B.C. liquor policies

WATCH: A scathing new report from Canada’s restaurant industry says B.C.’s liquor distribution system has gotten worse, not better. Ted Chernecki tell us why they say it means we’re all paying more at our table.


B.C.’s bar and restaurant owners say they’re still getting soaked by the province’s liquor policies.

In its bi-annual report card released Tuesday, Restaurants Canada downgraded B.C.’s grade from a C-plus to C when it comes to improving liquor prices and regulations.

The biggest problem, according to the report, is that bars and restaurants in B.C. pay the same price the public does for all alcohol. The lack of wholesale pricing forces them to pass on higher prices to customers.

“[There are] no volume discounts whatsoever,” Mark von Schellwitz of Restaurants Canada said. “All food products, everything else that we sell we get a wholesale price… which is just a normal business model.” coverage of B.C. liquor policy

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Von Schellwitz also notes that in B.C., tax is based on a percentage of the value of the product, making a $100 bottle more expensive than the same bottle in Alberta, which imposes a flat tax on all bottles regardless of price. That extra markup on high-end products can especially hurt bars and restaurants.

Restaurants Canada said things are worse in B.C. now than before the former Liberal government pushed to modernize B.C. liquor laws.

“A lot of photo ops were being held, a lot of press releases were being issued but the work with industry wasn’t happening, so we’re reversing that,” B.C. Attorney General David Eby said.

On Monday, Eby appointed Mark Hicken, a long-time wine industry lawyer and liquor policy adviser, with the aim of reducing prices and bureaucracy, especially for the hospitality industry.

— With files from Ted Chernecki

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