Tuesday, August 16, 2016

No booze for the big guys

by Kate Bouey - CASTANET Aug 15, 2016 / 4:43 pm
A delegation of independent liquor store owners packed Vernon council chambers on Monday, asking for regulations to be put in place that would curb wine sales in the big grocery stores. “We are asking council to have staff examine the one kilometre distance rule between all retailers of alcohol,” explained Jeff Guignard, executive director of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees. Guignard spoke of behalf of 30th Street Liquor Store, Kalamalka Wine and Spirits and Monashee's Bar and Grill and Kal Sports Bar. The province has permitted Save-on-Foods to obtain two VQA wine licences in Kelowna where no bylaws are in place. Kamloops council has okayed a variance to the one kilometres rule that will allow Save-on to sell wine there. There is a “potential for serious social consequences,” said Guignard, pointing to easier access to alcohol for minors if wine is sold in grocery stores. “It could also have a devastating impact on local retailers and the people they employ,” he said, citing statistics that showed 165 full-time and part-time employees working at local liquor outlets with a $6 million annual payroll. “It would be interest to ask our residents how they feel,” said Coun. Julliette Cunningham. “When you travel the world, you can go in a grocery store and buy all types of spirits, not just wine.” Council will review the issue at a later date.

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