B.C. Beer Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Rich Coleman

BC Liquor Law Reform Post-Election: Where Do We Go From Here?

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by WanderingPaddy

The election hangover has long past. British Columbians who were excited about the possibility of the NDP taking charge and following through on their promise to reform our provincial liquor laws “one practical step at a time”, have come to grips with the reality that we have four more years ahead of us with the Liberals steering the political ship. Hopefully, not four more years of business as usual.

The provincial Liberals have made some positive changes to our liquor laws and policies over the past few years, but have not “overhauled” them as they claimed in a February press release. The Liberal approach has been haphazard, at best, and reactionary, described by the NDP as a “piecemeal approach to liquor policy,”not part of a systematic, comprehensive plan.

The NDP had made it loud and clear, both before and during the election, that they were committed to a full review of current BC liquor laws. This would have included a comprehensive consultation with the BC liquor industry to work out an effective strategy to modernize our liquor policies, which even the Liberals have described as archaic. They have, to this point, also been very open to listening to consumers. I have had meetings with several NDP MLAs where we discussed issues that negatively impact the craft beer-drinking public.

We will never know if the NDP would have been able to keep that election promise. But my sense is that the commitment is real, and that they are ready to continue to push the Liberals from the opposition side of the BC Legislature to start a full review.

So where do we go from here?
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Vancouver Licensees Beware the Pint Police

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Falconetti's Signboard

A sleeve is not a pint, or even close to one, so don’t call it one! In Canada, a pint = 20oz, nothing more, nothing less.

by WanderingPaddy

I don’t know about you, but I am getting fed up with being misled, whether intentionally or not, by bars and restaurants who advertise pints but serve sleeves.

Twice in the last few weeks, I have seen restaurants on Commercial Drive advertising “pint” specials when they were serving sleeves, which are 20-40% less in volume, depending on which version of the hated glassware is being employed. This pisses me off to no end, as it is misleading at best and downright dishonest if the misrepresentation is knowingly advertised.

A few Mondays ago, I notice Falconetti’s tweeting about an all-day “pint” special. I tweeted back a few times, asking if they were, in fact, serving 20oz pours. I was met with silence. Later in the day, I walked past the restaurant on my way to the park with my kid, and noticed a “pint” special advertised on their sidewalk chalkboard. Curious, I stuck my head in the door, and there was not a pint glass to be seen. Just to be sure, I called to enquire, and was told “pints” were a part of the Monday special. When I asked if it was actually a 20oz pour or a sleeve, the response was, “Technically, I guess you are right. We serve 16oz sleeves.”

Technically? Really?

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Vancouver Restaurateur Insults Craft Brewers, Belgians, Beer Drinkers

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by WanderingPaddy

A few months back I met with someone from the wine camp. Over a few beers, we had an excellent discussion about issues common to both the BC wine and craft beer industries, successes the wine lobby had realized as a result of advocacy, and how craft beer consumers could better organize to help them realize similar successes. During this discussion, it was pointed out to me that craft beer advocates and the craft beer industry as a whole have a major problem. It has nothing to do with the quality of beer being brewed or the lack of industry organization. This is a problem that is playing a major role in the lack of support given to craft beer by the government and the hospitality industry.

“You (craft beer consumers/industry) have an image problem,” I was told. This was not news to me, and should not be for the majority involved with the craft beer scene in BC. It is a reality and a hangover from the Dark Ages of Beer. This was when, with few exceptions, the majority of beers available from coast to coast in Canada were generic, mass-produced lagers meant to be swilled for effect, not taste. During this Dark Age, beer had no place in the finer restaurants about town, did nothing to enhance or compliment food, and was considered a beverage almost exclusively downed by down-and-outs and working men. Thankfully, due to the explosion of the BC craft beer scene and the amazing beers being brewed locally, those days are long gone. Or are they?

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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 Ties That Bind – How the BC Liberals Want to Limit Beer Choice

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It came to my attention yesterday that with respect to tied houses and related trade practices in British Columbia, the Liberal government intends to reduce current provincial regulations. For them, it isn’t a question of whether or not to do so; it is a matter of how much.

For those who do not know what a tied house is, this is the definition from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) consultation paper that was recently circulated to some potential stakeholders:

A tied house is an establishment that has an association, financial or otherwise, with a liquor manufacturer or its agent that is likely to lead to its products being favoured.

What this means is that a pub that is owned or has some contractual arrangement with a brewery, may find itself obligated to sell beer from that brewery alone. As a result of the Liquor Inquiry Commission of 1952, this was made illegal due to the lack of competition that resulted from brewery consolidation. Those were the beer Dark Ages in Canada when “beer” was synonymous with mass-produced lager because that is all you could get. It took 32 years before craft brewing even resurfaced here!

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