Some good reading material has been floating around amongst the breaking news yesterday that Jay Chambers is stepping down as the head of the BC Liquor Distribution Branch.
To refresh about Chambers far-reaching role in British Columbia, this Georgia Straight story from a year ago illustrates the authoritarian stranglehold the BCLDB has had throughout all levels of the booze industry in the province. Jake Skakun summed up many valid grievances held by the majority in Scout Magazine a year-and-a-half ago, and illustrated things more specifically in The Tyee last winter.
Keith Reynolds brought us up to speed on the upcoming privatisation of the wholesale division of our liquor industry, while Bob Mackin has more recently wrote about the tangled behind-closed-doors aspect of the proposal process for Business In Vancouver and on his own blog (in more depth, including audio of an LDB meeting on the subject.) It seems that according to some, Alberta’s Exel Logistics has long sought taking over this side of the BCLDB and has made more advances, as far back as 2009, in cementing their stake. Perhaps, even though the Request For Proposals are still active, they already have it in the bag?
Rich Coleman, the BC Minister responsible for governing liquor sales and consumption, seems to have many eyes on him at the moment with not only this major issue on his desk, many are looking for him to also clarify his position and provide support to the BC wine industry as the legal ban on inter-provincial wine shipping is lifted. Recently a positive move was made to finally allow catering companies to purchase, transport and sell liquor, things opened up for the licensing of theatres, there’s suddenly consideration of BYOB in restaurants and potentially the implementation of a “level playing field” when it comes to wholesale discounts (restaurants currently do not receive a wholesale discount on alcohol.)
Much movement as of late, and obviously a lot more to come. It will be a very different landscape in British Columbia once the dust settles, but that’s definitely a long way’s away.