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Coronavirus: Time to Buy B.C. strategy asking consumers to research products, see if they’re truly local

Association asks British Columbians to buy local
British Columbia's alcohol producers are teaming up and are calling on British Columbians to enjoy the fruits of their labour. 

When it comes to shopping, don’t be oblivious when buying — see if it’s locally made.

That’s the bottom-line sentence of a business strategy titled Time to Buy British Columbia.

The plan says with job losses occurring because of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever to support local or made-in-B.C. businesses, and the people they employ.

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Further, those in the alcohol industry say buyers should dig deeper into the products they’re purchasing, to see if companies have true local or B.C. ownership, or if they’re just a cog in an offshore corporation.

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“A lot of people talk support local and then buy products where all the profits go internationally, and that’s not really helping our community,” said Liam Peyton, co-founder, general manager and marketing manager for Slackwater Brewing in Penticton.

Peyton said Slackwater, like many other businesses, has laid off employees, but they’re trying to bring them back and “consumer behavior like that doesn’t really help bring us back to hiring those people and making the economic impact that we did have in the city.”

B.C. job loses soar in March amid pandemic business closures
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Peyton added it’s important for consumers to learn about products, and who or what owns them and where their dollars eventually land.

“Large conglomerates have purchased brands that have identity by location,” he said, adding consumer education is really important.

Peyton said it’s essential “having the opportunity to educate people during this time when it’s so crucial for small, local businesses to move product — especially when things are extremely restricted.”

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The strategy not only includes B.C.’s beer industry, but also those making cider, wine and distilled spirits.

“We believe most people would willingly support B.C. businesses over others,” said Mike Petkau, co-owner of Nomad Cider in Summerland, “and we need now to give them an informed choice so that when they select local craft beer, cider, wine, distilled spirit or refreshment beverage, they can do just that.”

Added Miles Prodan, president and CEO of the B.C. Wine Institute: “We’re in the middle of this epidemic and we’re really trying to find ways to sustain local B.C. product, and, really, for us, it’s time for B.C., and it’s all about getting B.C. wine, cider, saki, craft brewers, beer and all that together.”

Prodan said it’s important to support local businesses, “whatever it is, because local is critically important, but it’s especially so for product that’s made here in British Columbia.”

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