The moment that Vancouver drinkers have long dreamed of is finally here.
June 20 marked the first day that pubs and restaurants in the city could offer customers happy hour specials on beer, wine and spirits. Previously, provincial regulations had prohibited establishments from changing the price of their booze during the day, effectively nixing the possibility of happy hours.
Under the new rules, bars and restaurants are now free to set their own happy hour specials, provided that they comply with mandatory minimum prices. For beer, the minimum price is $3 per 12-ounce bottle or sleeve, $5 per 20-ounce pint or $15 per 60-ounce jug. Wine must be priced at at least $3 per 5-ounce glass or $15.85 per 750-millilitre bottle. Spirit prices must be set at a minimum of $3 per 1.5-ounce drink.
But not everyone is buzzed about the new policy. Disgruntled drinkers have pointed out that the new “minimums” mean that prices will actually go up in many bars and restaurants that already offer cheap pints and jugs. (For example, the Cambie Bar in Gastown currently sells pitchers for as little as $10.75, well below the new mandatory minimum price.)
Also now in effect is a new law permitting the sale of alcohol at farmers markets. Shoppers can now browse for locally made wine and beer (but not spirits) while shopping for fresh fruits and veggies at Vancouver’s many farmers markets. Under the new law, the farmers markets themselves will determine which beer and wine vendors can sell their products.
Other changes in booze policy include a new law that permits minors to dine at pubs. Under old laws, children were banned from eating at liquor-primary establishments, even when accompanied by parents. In total, 73 recommendations to modernize B.C.’s liquor laws were submitted as part of the latest B.C. Liquor Policy Review. So far, 17 changes have been implemented.
What do you think about the latest changes to B.C.’s booze policies? Let us know below.
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