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BC liquor licensees are losing big, perhaps millions per year, as BC consumers shop Alberta’s private liquor sellers, pay substantially lower prices and have liquor shipped directly to their door. BC has some of the highest liquor prices in Canada while Alberta has some of the lowest. In many cases, BC consumers can purchase liquor online in Alberta at costs lower than the wholesale price paid by BC liquor licensees.
For example, Wild Common Still Strength Tequila Blanco can be purchased at one Calgary liquor retailer on sale for $124.99 while in BC the same product can cost double the price, at up to $250.
BC’s private liquor and wine stores aren’t the only one’s losing – the BC government is also losing tax revenue every time a BC consumer purchases liquor online from a private liquor retailer in Alberta.
It’s illegal to ship most alcohol from other provinces into BC, yet some of Alberta’s private liquor retailers are flouting the law. According to Global News, the BC government will be consulting its counterparts in Alberta to discuss the problem and determine enforcement measures. BC United party finance critic, Peter Milobar commented on the issue saying that BC’s Solicitor General needs to start enforcing BC laws on cross-border liquor shipping or adapt BC liquor prices to stop the bleed-off in sales to Alberta.
Jeff Guignard, Executive Director of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees – BC (ABLE BC) says BC’s private liquor industry is losing high-end consumers who can purchase liquor at far cheaper prices in Alberta. Guignard says the problem has become worse in the last couple of years, suspecting inflation and inexpensive shipping are contributing to an increase in BC consumers shopping online in Alberta.
Source: “Online bootlegging: B.C. booze industry concerned local buyers are clicking on Alberta”, Global News, June 2023.
Get BC Liquor Licensing Clarity from Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors
When you need clarity about liquor licensing in BC, contact Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors, BC liquor license experts. We help BC liquor licensees throughout their business lifecycle. Whether you need help with a liquor license application or retail strategy, the liquor consultants at Thrive are here for you.