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

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

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Crews work to repair Horsefly Road east of Williams Lake . (Ministry of Transportation video)
MoTI activates district operations centre, response to flood damaged roads in Cariboo region

Engineers, experts being pulled from across the province to help

RCMP officers on scene Friday, May 14 off Bond Lake Road on the outskirts of Williams Lake. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Update: Williams Lake RCMP arrest one suspect after firearms incident near Bond Lake Road

Given the severity, suspect is being held in custody for a court appearance

An official naming ceremony for the Nekw7usem Bridge connecting the RC Cotton Trail to Scout Island will take place Monday, May 17 at noon. (Patrick Davies file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
City, WLFN hosting naming ceremony for Nekw7usem Bridge in Williams Lake

The pedestrian bridge connects the RC Cotton Trail to Scout Island

Patricia Froberg (from left), Pat Mitchell and Dorothy Ouellette enjoy lunch prepared by members of the Old Age Pensioners Organization for St. Patrick’s Day Wednesday afternoon. Today, May 14, the Old Age Pensioners Organization Branch 93 and the Seniors Activity Centre are hosting an Old Fashioned Drive In lunch with car hop service at the SAC parking lot from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Old Fashioned Drive In Lunch on menu at seniors centre today, May 14

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., swing on by the SAC parking lot for an Old Fashioned Drive In lunch

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

Most Read