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Hospitality Consulting Keeps Your BC Liquor Primary Business Safe, Compliant, and Alive During COVID-19November 2, 2020
In April 2020, the BCLCRB (BC Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch) began moving its BC liquor license applications to the online portal previously used solely for cannabis licensing. According to the BCLCRB, all liquor license applications will be moved to the portal over the next year. The online portal helps streamline the application process. Prior to moving some BC liquor licenses over the portal, would-be licensees would download a liquor license application PDF, complete it, and email or mail it in. It’s great to see BCLCRB moving toward online application management. While license approval still takes time, the move should speed up the application-to-approval timeline.
Currently, five BC liquor license applications are available at the portal, including:
- Catering Licenses
- Wine Store Licenses (changes to existing licenses only*)
- Manufacturers License
- Licensee Retail Store License (changes to existing licenses only*)
- UBrew and UVin License
* BCLCRB has placed a moratorium on new Licensee Retail Stores until July 1, 2022, and an indefinite moratorium on new Wine Store licenses. Although you can’t apply for these licenses online at this time, you can manage changes to existing licenses via the new BC liquor licensing portal.
How to Use the BC Liquor License Application Portal
To get started, visit https://justice.gov.bc.ca/cannabislicensing/. Don’t worry that the last bit of the URL says “cannabislicensing/”. You’re in the right place! The government hasn’t changed the URL from the days when the portal was used strictly for BC cannabis license applications.
When you get to the portal, you may be tempted to click “License Types” in the top menu (see screenshot below), hoping to find information about the five BC liquor licenses described above. Unfortunately, the portal’s web worker bees haven’t added descriptions of those licenses to the “License Types” menu. In the “License Types” menu, you’ll only see links to pages which describe the different cannabis license applications (Retail Store License, Rural Retail Store License, Marketing License) and links to other cannabis-related pages (Growing Cannabis, License Renewals, and License Transfers). Confusing? Yes!
BC Liquor License Application Portal Sign Up Steps
- Register for a Business BCeID
If you don’t yet have a Business BCeID, you can register for one online in about 15 minutes.If you can’t remember whether you have a BCeID or can’t remember the ID number, you can search for your business by legal name or “doing business as” name in the BCeID directory. If your business has been registered, the search result will show the business name and main contact person. You can then call the BCeID Help Desk and ask them what your BCeID is.
- Sign up to the Liquor and Cannabis Licensing Portal Using Your BCeID
- Verify your account
Once signed in, visit your Account Profile, and verify you account.
From the portal, you can apply for and renew licenses, submit changes to licensee and personal history, pay application fees and download your license.
Recent BC Liquor and Cannabis License Policy Changes
Non-medical cannabis reservations and online sales for in-store pickup only
BC cannabis retailers may allow customers to make non-medical cannabis reservations by phone or via the business’s website for in-store pickup. Retailers may also sell products online or over the phone for in-store pickup.
Temporary expansion of service area
Restaurants, wineries, distilleries, and breweries may temporarily expand service areas to accommodate physical distancing requirements.
Newly extended and effective until October 31, 2021.
Temporary wholesale pricing
To help restaurant, bars and pubs suffering the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BC government has initiated a wholesale pricing model allowing these BC liquor licensees to purchase beer, wine and spirits at wholesale prices.
Effective until March 31, 2021.
Extension of temporary hours of sale and delivery
Temporary hours, sales and delivery were extended. Licensee retail stores, wine stores, specialty wine stores, and manufacturer on-site stores may operate from 7 am to 11 pm. Licensees may also offer delivery services if delivery takes place outside the hours of 11:30 pm and 7 am.
Effective until January 31, 2021.
BC Liquor License Changes Causing Headaches?
If you’re having a hard time tracking BC liquor license policy changes, you’re not alone! Take two aspirin and call Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors in the morning! Rebecca Hardin, CEO, and lead consultant is one of the most experienced advisors in BC’s competitive liquor market. By working with Thrive, you’ll always know how policy changes affect your bottom line. Rebecca and her team love the fine print of government rules and regulations and know the best way to implement solutions that meet those standards. If you’re suffering from COVID-19 policy fatigue, give Thrive a shout. We make BC liquor licensing easier!