Overlander Pub owner Lindsey Gasparini is upset with proposed new B.C. liquor policies to allow grocery stores to sell alcohol.

Pub owner disgusted with new liquor policies

Changes to the liquor industry are killing liquor establishments in rural B.C., said Williams Lake Overlander Pub owner Lindsey Gasparini.

Changes to the liquor industry are killing liquor establishments in rural B.C., said Williams Lake Overlander Pub owner Lindsey Gasparini.

“Most of the province outside of Vancouver proper has already seen a 30 to 40 per cent decrease in volume sales of liquor with the introduction of the .05 alcohol limit for driving,” Gasparini said. “Last week’s announcement the government is proposing the sale of liquor in grocery stores is adding injury to insult.”

Gasparini has contacted parliamentary secretary John Yap’s office, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett and said fellow pub owners in the north are up in arms about the proposal to sell liquor in grocery stores.

“We had about 90 other owners on a list with a basic letter saying if you do this you will kill the industry,” he said.

Barnett said her concern is what it will do to small businesses who have invested money, time and energy into rural liquor outlets.

“The public’s saying it wants liquor in grocery stores and we all want convenience in life, but I look at the bigger picture. The jobs these people create, the permanent jobs in Williams Lake,” Barnett said. “My concern is these peoples’ assets and these peoples’ jobs.”

Gasparini said many people are under the misconception alcohol is going to be cheaper in big grocery stores, especially in places like Costco.

As a pub owner, he pays the same price for liquor that customers pay for liquor in a store, he explained.

The only advantage pubs have when it comes to liquor purchasing is being exempt from having to pay provincial sales tax.

For the two beer and wine stores he owns locally, he receives about a 16 per cent reduction on the price of liquor from the government.

“Government controls all the liquor in B.C.,” he said. “They are the number one purchaser of alcohol. They buy it from a brewery or distillery, mark it up and add a tax to it.”

That’s why people get upset, Gasparini suggested.

A case of Canadian beer, imported into the U.S., is still about $10 less a case in the U.S. compared to buying it in Canada.

Over the years, the government has slowly pushed up taxes and pub owners cannot pass the increase on to the customer, he said.

“Us as the sellers can only mark it up so much or people aren’t going to buy it.”

Gasparini’s family has held a liquor licence since 1958.

His father, Ernie, owned pubs in Prince Rupert and the Fraser Valley and always maintained the government was in business with pub owners.

“Dad would say the government allowed businesses to make money from the sale of liquor so they could reinvest and keep their establishments looking nice. They didn’t want a bunch of skid row bars all over the province.”

Gasparini also questions the argument liquor in grocery stores is all about convenience.

“There are nine liquor outlets serving the Williams Lake, Wildwood, 150 Mile and Dog Creek Road areas,” he said. “How much more convenience do we need.”

It comes down to asking whether the government is proposing liquor be sold in grocery stores to drive up the lost revenue in taxes, he added.

“They’ve lost tax revenue off the social end of it because people are afraid to drink and drive, and now they are trying to make it more accessible to drive those tax dollars up by selling it in grocery stores?”

 

Just Posted

More than 75 golfers tee off at annual WLGTC 2 Lady Classic

Visiting players account for more than half the field

Dr. Glenn Fedor honoured with lifetime achievement award

Early in his career, Dr. Fedor provided GP anesthesia, maternity care and emergency medicine.

UPDATE: River Valley fire started at location of homeless camp

“Fire is out,” Peterson said. “Cause is undetermined but was in the location of a camp.”

CCCTA pleased with marketing efforts

The new three per cent accommodation tax collected since May 2018 totals $674,000

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read