Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Archaic' Liquor Laws in B.C. Hurt Consumers, Whisky Distributor Says

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Archaic' Liquor Laws in B.C. Hurt Consumers, Whisky Distributor Says

Article excerpt

B.C. liquor laws hurt consumers: distributor

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VANCOUVER - An Alberta-based whisky distributor says "archaic" liquor policies in British Columbia are limiting the range of products consumers can access.

Robert Carpenter, co-founder of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, said B.C. bars have long skirted rules that prevent them from buying unique products at private liquor stores that aren't carried at government stores.

His comments follow the seizure of his whisky products at four B.C. bars last week.

Carpenter said B.C.'s Liquor Control and Licensing Branch has yet to inform the bar owners of the exact rationale for the seizure, but it's believed to be the result of how the establishments purchased the whisky.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society only distributes its product to two private liquor stores in B.C. in addition to locations in Alberta, Carpenter said.

For several years, the whisky has also been found in "partner bars" in B.C., which Carpenter explained is a term his company uses for marketing purposes but doesn't reflect a formal business agreement.

Eric Fergie is co-owner of Fets Whisky Kitchen in Vancouver, which is one of the society's partner bars.

He said officials from the provincial liquor branch seized 242 Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottles from his business on Thursday.

It's the first time such a seizure has happened at his bar since it opened in 1986.

Fergie told The Canadian Press his lawyer advised him not to comment on situation, but added he believed the alcohol was taken because "it was improperly purchased."

He said he was waiting on the branch to provide more details on the reasoning for the raid, as well as what would happen with the roughly $40,000 worth of whisky that was confiscated.

"The government has some of the rarest whiskies in the world in their possession," Fergie said. …

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