VICTORIA, BC – The Victoria Times-Colonist reports that representatives of British Columbia’s numerous small and medium sized breweries are expressing concerns about the provincial government’s plans to privatize the province’s Liquor Distribution Branch.
BC currently has both private and government-owned retail liquor stores, but all liquor warehousing and distribution is handled by the government via the LDB.
As part of the provincial budget released in February, the government sent out a request for proposals to “transfer the government-owned and operated liquor distribution branch warehouses in Vancouver and Kamloops to the private sector by 2015,” although the government-owned retail stores are not part of the planned sell-off.
Concerns were raised about the plan soon after it was announced – one example being this February blog post on website of The Province newspaper – and now they’ve flared up again.
Jim Dodds of Vancouver Island Brewery tells the Times-Colonist that a similar distribution model in Alberta has led to higher distribution costs – i.e. $1.53 per case of beer, versus the current 78 cents per case cost in BC – and that if the same increase were to happen in BC, the costs would ultimately be passed on the consumer. Tod Melnyk, chairman of the BC Craft Brewers Guild and owner of Tree Brewery, further notes that increased prices would lead to lower sales, which would then translate to lower production and lost jobs at smaller breweries.
For further details on the situation, see the full story on the Times-Colonist website.