British Columbia introduced variable drink pricing this past Friday, and already it is starting to look like happy hour won’t be so happy for some people anymore.
What this means is that drink prices could, and probably will, go up in the near future. The government has made new rules on the lowest before tax prices. This means that $2 is the minimum price that can be charged for a drink, including a single ounce shot of a spirit. $3 is the minimum price that can be charged for a 5oz glass of wine, a 12oz beer or cider, or a bottle or can of beer, cider, or cooler. $5 is the new minimum price that can be charged for a 20oz pint of draft beer or cider.
Many pubs, however, are already selling their drinks for less that the new minimum. Because of this, the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch as said that prices would probably rise.
On Friday, the LCLB general manager Douglas Scott said, “there may be the occasional case where consumers see a drink price go up. However, overall, we don’t expect consumers will see much of a difference in terms of drink prices. If anything, they will notice new happy hour drink specials offered by licensees, which weren’t allowed under the previous rules.”
Many people, though, might notice when the cost of a pitcher of beer goes up at least $5, which is what some pub owners are projecting.
Scott also goes on to say, “Bare in mind, licensees have a business to run and, in most cases, already charge more than the new prescribed minimum prices. Both health advocates and the industry asked for minimum pricing right around the $3 level, as it encourages responsible consumption and creates a level playing field for licensees.”
Not all changes are negative, however: customers are now able to order drinks without food, and there are many other changes made to simplify liquor-licensing rules.
Written by: Anna Ward
Image via alternativeberlin