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Change in wine policy announced

Rich Coleman, MLA for Fort Langley-Aldergrove - Submitted photo
Rich Coleman, MLA for Fort Langley-Aldergrove
— image credit: Submitted photo

Rich Coleman, minister responsible for liiquor policy,  announced a shift in policy towards wine on Thursday morning at the Walnut Grove Keg restaurant.

He said B.C. residents can now bring their own bottle of wine into participating restaurants, and enjoy it with their meals.

"We want to provide our restaurant industry with greater flexibility in terms of the services it can offer to its customers," said Coleman. "Today's change does just that — it allows customers to pair their favourite wine with their favourite restaurant."

Patrons will be required to have the wine served in the same manner as wine selected from the menu and restaurants may charge a corkage fee for this service.

"The government continues to introduce common-sense solutions such as the Bring Your Own Wine program. This gives industry the needed flexibility to get people out and dine more," said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the British Columbia Restaurant and Food Service Association. "More business will result in positive economic impacts such as increased employment and downstream benefits to suppliers of the industry. This is a very innovative, flexible and common-sense policy."

This change is supported by the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association and the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. Participation in this service by licensed restaurants is voluntary.

"Restaurateurs, especially those with limited wine inventories, welcome the option of allowing their guests to bring their own wine," said Mark von Schellwitz, vice president of Western Canada for the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. "This liquor policy change allows those restaurant guests who want to celebrate a special event by bringing a vintage bottle of wine from their own cellar to their favourite restaurant to do so."

Licensees are still liable if patrons are over-served or liquor service is provided to minors. As in other provinces, there are no plans to broaden this beyond wine to include beer and spirits.

"By allowing people to bring their own bottle of wine into their favourite dining establishment, we've provided restaurant owners with a great opportunity to create a new type of dining experience that will further promote our wonderful restaurants here in British Columbia," continued Coleman.

These changes build on the B.C. government's commitment to modernize B.C.'s liquor laws.

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