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(Jan. 13/14) The Liquor Distribution Branch’s (LDB’s) proposed wholesale formula would increase the licensee price for wines that cost more than $20. As of April 1, 2015, this model would force most licensees to raise their wine prices and reorganize their selections.

Our action
Restaurants Canada is concerned about a consumer backlash if this proposed mark-up goes through. In a meeting with the Premier’s office, we outlined how this proposal would hurt government’s liquor revenue. Wine sales at restaurants and bars would drop. Consumer motivation to smuggle medium and premium wines from lower-cost provinces will increase. Our members also provided examples of how the new model would impact their wine prices and sales.

Our recommendations
Restaurants Canada again recommended flat tax mark-ups and a wholesale price that includes licensees. We suggested alternatives that would restrain the rising prices for medium and premium wines. We also asked that licensees be allowed to sell BC VQA wines to guests for off-premise use. The Premier’s office committed to address our concerns.

Next steps
We will meet with LDB stakeholders to discuss wholesale pricing on Jan. 14. We will also meet again with Justice Minister Anton (responsible for liquor policy) on Jan. 27.

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