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

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

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province’s oldest lawyer shares advice for living well at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

PHOTOS: New BC Ferries hybrid vessels arrive in Victoria’s Inner Harbour

The ferries will run two gulf island routes in upcoming months

Saanich swaps last propane-powered Zamboni for electric model

Pearkes arena’s all-electric ice resurfacing fleet to reduce carbon emissions by six tonnes

VIDEO: Traffic snarled during Friday evening rush hour, now clear

Traffic was backed up all over Greater Victoria

Man in life-threatening condition after suspected overdose

The man was found behind a building near the intersection of Quadra Street and North Park Street

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Dashcam records driver’s near-miss near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

Most Read