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BC Grocery Stores Will Have To Compete For Liquor License

Liquor Will Be Sold In B.C. Grocery Stores In 2015 Through Separate Cashiers

The rollout of liquor in British Columbia grocery stores has been an exciting, yet slow process. Currently, there are only a handful of locations throughout metro Vancouver that boast a liquor section, but the B.C. government plans to change that in the upcoming months.

In April, the province will host the first round of auctions and issue up to six new licenses for grocery stores hoping to sell high-quality wines, ciders, and sake.

Not all grocery stores will be eligible to attend the auction however. According to the government, you must own the grocery store business and you must either own or lease the establishment where it is or will be located, and the grocery store must:                                    

  • Be primarily engaged in retailing a general line of foods, including canned, dry and frozen food, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh and prepared meats, fish and poultry, dairy products, baked products and snack foods, and non-liquor juices, carbonated beverages and flavoured beverages.                               
  • Have an area of at least 929 square metres (approximately 10,000 square feet), including storage space.                           
  • Not already be the site of an existing or proposed licensee retail store, wine store or BC Liquor Store (i.e. Liquor Distribution Branch store).               

Once licensed, grocery stores must ensure that the revenue from food and non-liquor beverage sales accounts for at least 70% of the total non-liquor sales revenue each year, and over 50% of the total sales revenue each year.                       

Only grocery stores that meet the criteria above will be eligible to bid. All bidders will be required to provide a $25,000 pre-screening deposit for each license they plan to bid on. The $25,000 deposit will be refunded to all unsuccessful bidders.

Convenience stores and multipurpose stores are not eligible for licensing.

Save On Foods in South Surrey was the first successful grocery store in B.C to sell wine.

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