Beer pitcher cost cut as province revises minimum liquor prices

Initial rules did not meet expectations, admits liquor reform czar John Yap

B.C.'s 'Happy Hour' upset some customers

B.C.'s 'Happy Hour' upset some customers

The province has adjusted its new minimum prices for alcohol in the wake of criticism over the rollout of new rules allowing “happy hour” discounts.

A new category for draft beer creates a minimum charge of $12 for a 60-ounce pitcher – down from $15 previously announced – or $0.20 per ounce for large volumes over 50 ounces instead of $0.25, which still applies to smaller glasses and pints.

“Upon reviewing B.C.’s minimum prices, we realized they weren’t on par with consumers’ expectations and we took action to find a fair compromise that still upholds B.C.’s high standards for health and safety,” said MLA John Yap, who heads the province’s liquor policy reforms.

The new regulations let bars and restaurants charge lower prices for selective times or occasions, but forced some low-price establishments to raise prices to match the new minimums.

That will still be the case for pints in some locales – bars that had charged less than $5 must raise their prices to that minimum for 20 ounces.

The province has also increased the minimum price for spirits from $2 to $3 per ounce.

Addictions experts had called for higher minimum pricing to reduce health and safety risks to drinkers.

Alliance of Beverage Licensees executive director Jeff Guignard supported the spirit price increase in the interests of public safety, noting a patron previously could have bought five single-ounce shots for $10.

But he said the lower minimum beer pitcher price of $12 against a minimum 20-ounce pint price of $5 may encourage over-drinking and intoxication.

“You’re more likely to start sharing pitchers than you are to buy individual pints,” he said.

Provincial regulations limit a single serving of beer to 24 ounces, so pitchers can’t be ordered by a lone patron.

But Guignard noted it’s harder for a server to track how much patrons are drinking when they’re ordering beer by pitchers instead of glasses.

“You don’t know if a particular person has had one pint or had the entire pitcher.”

The new minimums mean little for bars and restaurants that charge higher prices already.

Guignard senses a “rural-urban divide” in which many Interior bars charging lower prices than the new minimum will have to raise prices, while that won’t generally be the case in much of the Lower Mainland, outside of parts of Vancouver.

He said the industry now hopes for stability and certainty.

“This is now the third time they’ve changed minimum pricing,” Guignard said. “It’s all a bit confusing and annoying.”

Lower prices can be selectively offered for “ladies night” specials or “team night” for players in uniform. Minimum prices do not apply to catered events, or special occasion licences.

 

 

New BC Happy Hour Prices

 

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Most Read