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

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stood at 6.3 per cent in May 2021, nearly unchanged from April’s rate of 6.2 per cent. (Black Press Media File)
Unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stagnates at 6.3 per cent in May

Latest figures reflect conditions before lifting of public health measures

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read