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B.C. to allow alcohol in grocery stores from April 1, 2015

11/19/2014 05:43 EST | Updated 01/19/2015 05:59 EST
The B.C. government announced Wednesday that the province's grocery stores will be permitted to sell alcohol beginning April 1, 2015.

Other changes going into effect that day affect government B.C. Liquor Stores, which will be allowed to offer walk-in coolers, to stay open for longer hours and to open Sundays.

- BACKGROUND | Liquor to be sold in B.C. grocery stores

On Wednesday, B.C. Minister of Justice and Attorney General Suzanne Anton also announced that from April 1, 2015, government, private and rural liquor stores would all pay the same wholesale price for alcohol.

Anton said the new plan is intended to remove the unfair advantage that government liquor stores have over private stores.

The government expects to bring in the same amount of revenue on liquor, but Anton says consumers are not likely to pay less.

A more graduated markup is being introduced so microbreweries can grow without being penalized for getting too big.

Store within a store

As previously announced, the criteria applied to grocery stores wishing to sell alcohol would prevent both smaller convenience stores and big box stores from stocking booze.

Participating stores will be required to show that around 75 per cent of their sales are from food products, and that the store's footprint is at least 10,000 square feet.

Under the policy, liquor stores will be able to relocate their operations to grocery stores, or provide a connecting entrance from an adjacent location.

However, grocery products and liquor will be separated in order to prevent illegal sale to minors.

There will be no minimum size requirement for the liquor retail space within the grocery store. Minimum pricing regulations will remain in effect.

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