Liquor stores to offer more micro-beer, restaurant rules relaxed

Government stores to reserve shelf space for closest tiny brewers

More local varieties of beer from microbreweries will be available at government liquor stores.

Craft beer lovers should soon find more local varieties in B.C. government liquor stores.

The stores will reserve dedicated shelf space starting Nov. 30 for beer from local microbreweries that has not typically been offered in government stores.

Exactly what’s sold will vary by location.

There are more than 100 eligible microbreweries – producing no more than 15,000 hectolitres a year – and each store is expected to carry up to 12 currently unlisted varieties from the nearest breweries.

Another change to B.C. liquor policy announced Tuesday loosens the rules for restaurant goers who just want to order a drink, without food.

They’re now allowed to sit anywhere in the restaurant instead of being relegated to a separate lounge area or feeling pressured to order food.

That’s expected to provide some more flexibility to restaurants that no longer need to have defined lounge areas.

“This is a small change that will make a big impact,” said BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association president Ian Tostenson. “The restaurant can open up more physical space that can be used to seat customers who are dining or enjoying a cocktail.”

The rules for music and comedy performances are also relaxed. Restaurants no longer have to apply for a permit to host entertainment, as long as patrons aren’t participating in the show.

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