NEWS

Liquor prices not revealed by B.C. government on Friday as promised

03/21/2015 12:01 EDT | Updated 05/20/2015 05:59 EDT
Producers and retailers of beer, wine and spirits were hoping to find out how much liquor would cost in the province today. Instead, the government chose not to publish the information as expected, leaving many in the liquor industry speculating that prices will go up.

As part of the sweeping changes to liquor policy in B.C., the province is changing the way alcohol is priced. The goal is to level the playing field by charging everyone from private beer and wine stores to government agency shops the same wholesale amount. 

However, retailers such as Marquis Wine Cellars owner John Clerides are not looking forward to the upcoming price changes on April 1. 

"It's pretty funny, they think they're levelling the playing field and they're actually not, they're tilting it towards themselves ... oh prices are going to go up at the retail level and for consumers," he says. 

He added that many retailers will have no choice but to raise prices for consumers.  

David Eby, the NDP's liquor critic, agreed. 

"It was certainly a surprise for me because in the legislature I've been saying the prices are going to go up, and this was their chance to prove prices weren't going up, and instead they're keeping the prices secret," he says. 

The Liberal government did not provide comment on Friday, but previously justice minister Suzanne Anton said the new plan was intended to remove the unfair advantage that government liquor stores had over private stores.

Eby says this is another example of the government not consulting enough with industry. 

"So when happy hour comes in and the price goes up, it seems like there's some thing wrong with the implementation," he says. "When you're trying to make the administration of the system easier but consumers and industry are hurt by it, it seems like government needs to do a better job of doing its homework on these changes." 

MORE:cbcNews