VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The B.C Liquor Distribution Branch and BC Liquor Stores are marking a century of “serving” people in this province.
Currently, the Crown corporation contributes more than $1.1 billion per year to the province, but it had fairly modest beginnings.
It was June 15, 1921, when the Liquor Control Board opened the first of nine government liquor stores, officially marking an end to Prohibition. Back then, you had to be at least 21-years-old to buy booze, and were required to purchase an annual permit for $5, or a one-time permit for 50 cents.
“Fewer than 100 products were available, and all were behind a counter,” explains Blain Lawson, LDB general manager and CEO, in a statement, adding the LCB bottled its own hooch back then.
“We received shipments of full-proof alcohol – scotch from Scotland, brandy from France, and rum from Jamaica. The bottling department would then dilute the product with water, bottle and finally distribute to government stores for sale.”
By the end of the first year of operations, the LCB had turned a net profit of $1.7 million, and there were 51 stores in British Columbia.
The province had a complete monopoly on liquor sales until 1988, when the government allowed for the introduction of private retail liquor stores.
A year of activities and events kicks off with a celebration sale starting this Saturday. Among the exclusive items up for grabs are 100 bottles of Aviation gin signed by Ryan Reynolds himself.