Costco wants to sell liquor in their B.C. stores

Clear Springs Vodka pictured on sale at the Bellingham Costco in October 2013.

Costco, the Real Canadian Superstore and 7/11 are interested in selling liquor at their B.C. locations, according to submissions to the provincial government’s B.C. Liquor Policy Review.

Parliamentary Secretary John Yap has already submitted his final report to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. The consultation portion of the review wrapped up on October 31, 2013.

The provincial government says they plan to introduce new legislation on liquor laws in 2014.

Costco was one of hundreds of companies and organizations that met with Minister Yap as part of the review.

In a written submission available on the review website, Costco Assistant Vice-President and General Merchandise Manager Jim Andruski says their company embraces the opportunity to bring liquor sales to their B.C.. Costco locations.

“If the restructuring of the current government monopoly liquor policy allows for us to negotiate costs and set sell prices that offer savings versus our competitors, import unique and exclusive products, and ideally merchandise the liquor items within our existing retail space, we would be in the business,” says Andruski in the statement.

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The submission also says that based on the company’s experience in Alberta, Costco is able to implement a similar system in B.C.

“In Alberta, we currently manage 11 liquor stores adjacent to our warehouses but physically separated as required by regulation, we list 240 items encompassing all of spirits, wine, and beer.”

“We have a robust private label offering under the Kirkland Signature brand, and I know many BC residents have tried and enjoyed these products when they travel outside of our province.”

7/11 estimates that if they were allowed to sell liquor in their convenience stores, 500 jobs would be created. They also say their staff has a higher compliance rating than government liquor stores, and all staff are trained in the “We Expect ID” program.

Also submitted to the policy review was a document by the B.C. Private Liquor Store Association.

The association says they are not in favour of alcohol sales in grocery stores such as Costco or Superstore. They are also asking the provincial government to stop installing walk-in fridges without “chill charges” in government liquor stores, which they call an “aggressive attack” on private liquor stores.

The provincial government says that over 76,000 people visited their website during the review period. 4,264 comments were made, and those comments were rated 41,195 times. The government also received 3,587 e-mails.

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