More Local Craft Beers Coming to BC Liquor Stores

Photo credit: TheDigitel Beaufort | Flickr

Photo credit: TheDigitel Beaufort | Flickr

There’s good news for B.C. beer fans in Vancouver.

Changes in liquor board rules mean that more local craft beers should be showing up in your neighbourhood B.C. Liquor store. The rule change allows government liquor stores to sell up to a dozen more beers from area microbreweries. This total is above and beyond the craft beers already on liquor store shelves.

The new policy represents a needed update to an antiquated distribution system, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun by Randy Shore. Up until now, government liquor stores have been limited largely to stocking beers listed by the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch. Stores can choose from just a limited selection of around 650 beers, and only 143 of those qualify as microbrews. (By contrast, private liquor stores – like the popular Legacy Liquor on Granville Island – are free to stock their shelves from a virtually limitless selection of beer, including Vancouver’s own microbreweries.)

beer-bottles-797992_960_720This means that many popular local beers are completely absent from government liquor stores. Because craft brewing exploded so quickly in B.C., while space in stores and warehouses has remained unchanged, getting new beers into the liquor distribution system has proved a logistical nightmare. Some store managers have taken matters into their own hands, accepting deliveries directly from local brewers. But technically, they haven’t been allowed to give these products shelf space.

Until now. The new arrangement officially authorizes B.C. liquor stores to stock and shelf up to 12 beers from local breweries not already supplied by the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch. “Local,” in this case, refers to the six breweries closest to the store itself that produce less than 1.5 million litres of beer per year.

Photo credit: John Bollwitt | Flickr

Photo credit: John Bollwitt | Flickr

The new policy goes into effect this week across B.C. An estimated 102 breweries in the province qualify for the new program – which means that beer lovers may soon have a lot of new suds to sample.

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