Vernon distillery applauds changes

Vernon-based Okanagan Spirits says it will benefit from recent changes to B.C. liquor laws.  - Wade Paterson/Black Press
Vernon-based Okanagan Spirits says it will benefit from recent changes to B.C. liquor laws.
— image credit: Wade Paterson/Black Press

A Vernon distillery hopes to benefit from changes in provincial liquor laws.

Victoria has decided that distilled liquor products that consist of 100 per cent B.C. agricultural raw materials and are distilled in B.C. are now eligible for mark-up exempt direct sales.

“It’s really great and a long-time coming,” said Rodney Goodchild, sales and marketing manager at Okanagan Spirits.

“We’ve been asking for no mark-up on B.C. products. It (new rules) is adding value to the product and adding value to the province.”

Previously, there was a mark-up to direct sales to the public, restaurants, bars and private liquor stores.

Distillers in B.C. are also now able to produce up to 50,000 litres of finished product and remain in the craft distillery category.

Goodchild admits the old rules made operating the business extremely difficult.

“It now allows us to see a future. We were very much month-to-month and we need the change,” he said.

Goodchild anticipates that demand for B.C.’s craft distilleries will expand.

“This is mirroring what B.C. wineries have seen and we have all seen growth within the wineries,” he said.

Distillers can also now have an on-site consumption area as a lounge, tasting room or event area.

Goodchild is not sure if there will be a consumption area at the downtown Vernon business.

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick is confident  the new rules will allow distilleries to prosper.

“These changes will encourage B.C. craft distilleries to use local grains and  produce, will support B.C. farmers producing high-quality crops, and are the  latest example of the B.C. government’s efforts to create a business environment  that attracts investment and rewards innovation,” he said.

“B.C. is internationally  respected for our high-quality wines and beers, and is increasingly being looked  at as a place of similar opportunity for craft distillers.”

There are 14 licensed distilleries in B.C.


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