Skip to content

New B.C. liquor policies distilled to improve visitor experience

New rules aim to improve visitor experience
Dog Brewing Company co-owner John Lyle Bad Dog Brewing Company co-owners Rosie and John Lyle earned the Business of the Year award for 2022 from the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce and placed second in the People’s Choice category. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)

New provincial regulations may lift the spirits of larger breweries, wineries and cideries, but they won’t do much for smaller operations struggling to stay afloat.

Under the new rules, visitors will now be able to sample beer, liquor, and wine samples during a guided tour, and purchase packaged products in more places. Manufacturers will also be allowed to provide more customized sampling when selling and promoting products in picnic areas.

John Lyle, co-owner of Bad Dog Brewery in Sooke, said the changes won’t do much for smaller operations like his.

“Post-COVID, many smaller operations are going under or having to restructure because of inflation and huge increases in the cost of everything across the board,” Lyle said. “It will help larger breweries, wineries and cideries where people will be able to walk around the vineyard or the brewery with a glass of wine or a beer in their hand, but it won’t have much of an impact on us because we’re smaller (and don’t have the space or facilities for a tour).”

Bad Dog Brewery already has an outdoor area with seven picnic tables where people can enjoy a beverage and or grab something from their food truck.

Under the new regulations announced in April, breweries and cideries can now serve to 682 millilitres per person per day, wineries can provide multiple flights a day of up to 284 millilitres per person, and visitors to distilleries can receive to 85 millilitres (or three ounces) of samples per day.

Mike Farnworth, minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said in a statement that recent years have been difficult for wineries and tourism across the province, and the government is taking action to support these valuable businesses.

“The changes we are making will create better experiences for visitors of wineries and liquor manufacturers across the province, helping them — and all of B.C. — to be a more competitive and desirable destination for visitors,” he said.

The changes reflect the province’s commitment to strengthening tourism and supporting the liquor industry, the statement noted.

ALSO READ: In Sooke, local brewery earns the nod as ‘top dog’

About the Author: Rick Stiebel

Read more