BYOB in BC: Huge Step for Culture, Small Step For Business
July 20, 2012 § 1 Comment
Today Rich Coleman, the Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch and the Liquor Control & Licensing Branch, announced that Bring Your Own Bottle, or more precisely , Bring Your Own Wine, into licensed restaurants.
Today marks the end of a prohibition era law forbidding restaurants from allowing patrons to bring their own bottle of wine into a restaurant and paying a fee for the privilege (called corkage), and I think it is great. Not because it will mean any significant increase in retail sales, but because it is a glimmer, a flicker of hope that my home province sees that a vibrant wine culture has more than just tax and tourism benefits, but social benefits.
Social problems and their costs, have long been associated in BC with access, whereas every jurisdiction in the world that embraces a strong wine culture, and for that matter beer culture, has far fewer problems. The correlation here is that tight, forbidding control inspires people to over consume when given the chance, whereas areas that consumption is almost exclusively associated with the consumption of food and in social/family gatherings, short and long term over consumption is minimized.
Our world has changed significantly since prohibition ended and today’s announcement, coupled with the passing of bill C-311 allowing interprovincial trade for personal consumption, seem to say that our liquor laws are catching up with society and not criminalizing it.
Key Elements of Today’s Announcement to keep in mind.
1) takes effect immediately
2) only pertains to wine and does not include U-Vin wine.
3) only includes currently licensed restaurants
4) does not compel restaurants to offer the service.
5) does not determine a fee that restaurants must charge. Restaurants can charge, or not charge whatever they want.
Before taking your favourite bottle to your favourite restaurant, call the restaurant to ask about their policy.
I have asked restaurants in the area to let me know if they will offer corkage. From the responses I will build a list an post it.