B.C. Beer Blog

The who, what, where, when, why, and how of B.C. craft beer

Posts Tagged ‘LDB

BC Liquor Law Review: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

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Almost anyone who enjoys having an alcoholic beverage in British Columbia will have a gripe or few about the legal restrictions on doing so. Well, now you have a chance to influence some changes the government will make to bring our laws more in line with the current social culture. Like Halley’s Comet, this opportunity does not come often. Don’t let this chance to have your views included pass. Saying your individual opinions don’t matter is lame. It’s not about you! It is the sum of the parts that matter, so make yourself part of the equation by October 31 for the collective impact to be greater.

So what should those changes be? It’s easy to leap right into the details, but I have to agree with Anthony Gismondi:

Modernizing B.C. liquor laws has to start with a philosophical change about how we interact with alcohol.

In many respects, I think we are already there, given the many parties that are pushing for change. The challenge is for the government to accept the broader cultural underpinning for these changes and approach this issue from that perspective, rather than reacting piecemeal to parochial lobbying, which is what led to the LDB warehouse privitization fiasco and special dispensations to the wine industry (BYOB, legal personal importation) that irritated beer and spirits folks.

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Local Breweries Feel Slighted by LDB’s Plan to Lure US Craft Sales to Gov’t Liquor Stores

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by WanderingPaddy

Despite the fact that many small BC craft breweries often struggle to get their beers listed for sale in government BC Liquor Stores, the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is sending one of their own to the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America (CBC) to give a talk about “market opportunities” in BC for US craft breweries.

LDB Portfolio Manager, Kimberly Giesbrecht, is set to give a one-hour talk entitled, Canada Market – British Columbia, during a day of talks dedicated to “Export Development” at the CBC.  According to the LDB, Giesbrecht was invited to speak at the CBC by the U.S. National Craft Beer Association (USNCBA) “because BC is recognized as very supportive of the craft beer industry.” Giesbrecht “will be sharing her insight into the BC market with their members,” addressing “craft brewers from around the world including many from BC.”

I hope BC craft brewers do not have to travel all the way to Washington, DC, where the conference is being held, to benefit from Giesbrecht’s insights about the BC craft beer market.

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Why Grapes are Being Freed While Hops Remain Shackled

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by WanderingPaddy

Over the past month, BC wine consumers and the BC wine industry have had several reasons to pop champagne corks in celebration of changes to both federal and provincial laws which have benefited both groups. First Bill C-311, a Private Member’s Bill introduced into the House of Commons by Okanagan-Coquihalla MP, Dan Albas, prompted an amendment to the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (IILA) of 1928. Federal law now allows wine, and wine only, to transported or shipped across provincial borders by consumers. Spirits and beer are still illegal to ship or transport across provincial boundaries, as they have been since the introduction of the IILA.

Next, the provincial Liberals got in on the act by allowing consumers to buy direct from Canadian wineries. As an added bonus, they do not have to pay the BC Liquor Distribution Branch’s (LDB) 123% mark-up! Even though the feds now allow cross-border wine shipments, it is the provincial governments that ultimately have control over what alcohol gets imported into their jurisdictions. So this move was critical to give Bill C-311 some meaning. Again, these allowances were made for wine only, leaving laws unchanged in regards to spirits and beer.

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The Sh*t Has Hit the Fan

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by WanderingPaddy

The shit really hit the fan on Thursday, splattering all over the BC Liberals and their plans to fast-track the sale of the LDB warehouses and warehouse distribution system.

NDP MLA, and my favourite BC politician at the moment, Shane Simpson, flung the poop when he dropped a bombshell, producing 39 pages of documents indicating that the BC Liberals, as recently as June 2011, had no plans to privatize liquor distribution. Yet weeks later, after then Solicitor General Shirley Bond was approached by Exel Logistics VP, Scott Lyons, the government had a change of heart. They decided to privatize, despite having no business case.

After Simpson released the documents accessed through a Freedom of Information request, a media frenzy erupted. I especially enjoyed Vaughn Palmer’s grilling of Labour Minister, Margaret MacDiarmid, on CKNW. MacDiarmid’s comment that “governments do change their minds”, is ridiculous under the circumstances. Consider that last June, LDB privatization was not on the table. But after the meeting with Lyons on August 25, privatization was alive and moving forward. It recalls BC Liberal claims that the HST “was not on their radar” prior to the 2011 election, yet weeks after being voted back into government, Gordon Campbell’s Liberals were ramming the hated tax down our throats.
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LDB Privatization: A Guide to Some Great Reporting

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by WanderingPaddy

Since February, when Liberal Finance Minister, Kevin Falcon, dropped the bomb that the provincial government was going to sell off the province’s two liquor distribution centres, and with them, the province’s warehouse distribution system, it seemed everyone associated with the local liquor industry has been voicing concerns about how this is going to impact the BC liquor landscape.

The Alliance of Beverage Licensees of BC (ABLE), who represent more than 1,000 pubs, bars and private liquors stores, has come out against the privatization. The BC Government Employees Union has come out against the privatization. The NDP has come out against the privatization, with NDP alcohol critic Shane Simpson stating in the BC Legislature, “The process is tainted.” CAMRA BC, on behalf of craft beer consumers, is about to officially come out against the privatization. Heck, even the mostly inert Craft Brewers Guild of BC have gotten in on the action and gone public with their displeasure at how this will negatively impact the province’s alcohol industry.

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The Next Wave in BC Craft Beer

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Patrons enjoying the Driftwood beer dinner at Hapa Umi.

It was just over three years ago when I started this blog out of frustration over the lack of craft beer coverage in the mainstream media – virtually none. In fact, they were reporting the decline of beer in favour of wine when I knew it was a generalization that completely overlooked the ferment that was happening in BC amongst the microbreweries and brewpubs. Clearly, the MSM had no idea, given their wine obsession. At the time, craft beer in Vancouver seemed like an underground subculture whose workings were known to a select few. I had started getting the word out through CAMRA Vancouver’s newsletter, but needed a means for discussing issues and covering events in more depth than e-mail. The B.C. Beer Blog was born.

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How To Keep Turning the Tide in Vancouver

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Time to revive the B.C. Beer Blog. I didn’t have the time to write a short post, so I’ve given you a long one. Sorry that I haven’t added any pretty pictures to break up the monotony of the text, but I hope you find it worthwhile reading just the same.

There have been some exciting developments for craft beer over the past couple of months that I think are noteworthy when taken in the context of the overall trend. I feel that we’re on the cusp of a major change. For that to happen, it behooves all of us who have a love of craft beer to be the catalyst for change.

First off, there are the breweries that are now making seasonal beers or special, small-batch brewmaster’s releases that never did so before. Pacific Western Brewing launched its Brewmaster’s Signature series in July with their NatureLand Organic Hefeweizen. Last month they released their NatureLand Organic Festbier. PWB brewmaster is thinking of coming out with a stout next. (I would recommend a bock instead. We have enough stouts from our brewers, but few bocks.). Also last month, Lighthouse Brewing came out with Shipwrecked Triple IPA, the first of their Small Brewery, Big Flavour series. Next up, will be a Doppelbock called Navigator – great name choice that’s in keeping with the “-ator” naming convention of Doppelbocks and Lighthouse’s nautical theme.

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