As of today, British Columbians will be allowed to bring their own bottles of wine to restaurants as long as they pay corkage fees set by the eateries, the government says. Rich Coleman, the minister in charge of liquor issues, made the announcement at a restaurant in suburban Langley.
The policy brings British Columbia in line with six other Canadian provinces, including Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta.More Related to this Story
Mr. Coleman said patrons will have to allow the wine to be served in the same way as wine from the restaurant’s menu. It only applies to wine and not to beer and spirits.The eateries will set the fees as part of the program, which is voluntary for restaurants.
The announcement comes as the B.C. Liberal government is under political fire for another liquor policy – privatizing liquor distribution in the province. The government was against that idea until it was courted to do so by a private company and its lobbyists, the NDP disclosed, based on documents released through an access-to-information request.
The president and CEO of the British Columbia Restaurant and Food Service Association was supportive of the new wine and restaurants policy, and cast it as likely to boost business by giving diners more choice.
“This is a very innovative, flexible and common-sense policy,” Ian Tostenson said in a statement. Licensees are still liable if patrons are over-served or liquor service is provided to minors.