The provincial government in B.C. has changed the rules to allow licensed grocery stores to carry imported wine.
The new rules, effective July 8, were expected after the province announced it would change the rules that mandated that licensed grocery stores could carry only wines from the B.C. Vintners Quality Alliance, reports Castanet.
At least 29 B.C. grocery stores are licensed to sell wine.
The policy change is related to do with a side letter to the USMCA trade agreement in which B.C. committed to getting rid of the old rules. They had been attacked by the U.S., New Zealand and other countries at the World Trade Organization and in the European Union.
In Vancouver, however, city councillors banned grocers from going through the process required to get the provincial licence, requiring them instead to set up separate liquor stores within their grocery stores. That step will cost grocers more as they have to build walls to separate the liquor store from the rest of the premises. They are also likely to lose some valuable floor space to do so.
Save-On-Foods president Darrell Jones has already said that the grocery chain is not interested in building separate liquor stores inside their existing locations.