Bring Your Own Wine to BC Restaurants
British Columbia has long been known for its archaic liquor and wine laws. But as of July 19, 2012, restaurants with a liquor license in BC will legally have the right and option to serve wine brought in by guests.
While there are some mixed reviews about this depending on who you ask, it’s a serious boost for small businesses that have been suffering from such an outdated law. The BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine) program will be an interesting one to see in the upcoming months, as restaurants will vary their service charges from complimentary to $50.
Once we heard the news, we were really excited to the point were we messaged our client Novo Pizzeria and Wine Bar and insisted that we write a blog post for them about it, since they were such fans of legalizing corkage fees.
The province of BC is one of the last to legalize such activity. It’s already legal in six other provinces, which include Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario. Not to mention that if you head down South from Vancouver, BC it’s legal in Washington State as well.
What does this mean for your restaurant business?
1) Small local restaurants that don’t have the space, nor the financial cashflow to carry large volumes of wine should begin to partner with liquor stores nearby. Liquor stores are probably more than happy to promote restaurants that provide corkage because this becomes a win/win situation. People that visit specialty wine shops are more inclined to want to know which restaurants in their neighborhood offer the service as well.
2) Happier customers. In this day and age, the average consumer is looking to save money. This gives them the opportunity to bring a wine that they truly enjoy and be able to feel elevated when dining in your restaurant. Those that are quick to let customers know first, will benefit from those that don’t. I highly suggest letting people people know on your website and your social feeds.
3) You’re still responsible for their well being. Regardless of how many bottles of wine someone brings to the restaurant, it is still the restaurant’s responsibility to manage their patrons alcohol intake. Your restaurant could be held liable for any cases of intoxication.
4) Remember that all of this is voluntary and that not every restaurant has to participate. I would advise that you scan around your local area to see which restaurants are participating as this could potentially affect customer flow. And based on your customer base decide weigh the pros and cons.
For the official announcement made by the BC government please feel free to visit this website: