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Province helps hard-hit hospitality industry with wholesale liquor pricing

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New model allows restaurants, bars, and tourism operators to buy liquor at a discount to help cope with the pandemic

New pricing model takes effect next month and will last until the end of March, when it will be reviewed

Currently, restaurants, bars and pubs with hospitality licenses pay a marked up price for liquor

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The province has approved temporary wholesale liquor pricing for restaurants, bars, and tourism operators to help them cope with the pandemic.

The new model will see those with liquor licenses pay only the wholesale price on beer, wine, and spirits.

It will take effect next month and last until at least the end of March, when it will be reviewed.

“The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, badly hurting the more than 190,000 British Columbians who work within the sector,” Attorney General David Eby says in a release on Tuesday.

“Offering a wholesale discount for licensees was something we were exploring before COVID-19, but after the onset of the pandemic, we accelerated efforts in order to support these community businesses as they try to find their feet.”

RELATED: Bars, pubs struggling to stay open as more closures expected: advocacy group

Currently, restaurants, bars, and pubs with hospitality licenses pay a wholesale price, plus a retail markup set by the Liquor Distribution Branch on all liquor purchases.

The new model will remove the markup.

“The people working in the hospitality industry are a major driver of B.C.’s economy,” says Lisa Beare, tourism minister. “This change recognizes the restaurant sector’s important role in supporting tourism activity throughout the province.”

On Tuesday, the province released a new online guide to help cannabis producers enter B.C.’s legal market by streamlining the licensing process.

In 2019, the value generated by licensed cannabis producers in B.C. increased by $600 million, while unlicensed production decreased by 20 per cent, according to the province.

“The online navigator will help Indigenous, small-scale and craft producers overcome the cost and complexity of attaining the appropriate licences and approvals,” said Michelle Mungall, minister of jobs and economic development.

“Simplifying the regulatory process will help more producers get their businesses running and create job opportunities across the province.”