Determine What Additional Approvals You'll Need
- Ask your local government's planning department what the zoning is for your proposed site, and whether a winery, brewery or distillery and any endorsements you want to apply for are a permitted use within that zone. If they are not, you will need to apply for re-zoning or consider another site.
- Ask the local fire or building authorities — your local government can tell you who exactly you need to talk to — to review your proposed floor plans. They will give the plans a stamp of approval if they meet safety and building standards. (If you are applying for a lounge endorsement or interior special event endorsement area, you must also ask the local fire or building authorities to mark your plans with an "occupant load" calculation. The occupant load must equal the person capacity you have proposed in your application — the number of people you plan to accommodate in your establishment).
- Speak to the planning department or building inspection department of your local government to find out what building bylaws are in effect in your area and how to get a building or occupancy permit.
Lounges and special event areas
In addition, if you are applying for a lounge and/or special event endorsement, your local government must support your application.
We will provide your local government (municipality, regional district, or First Nation) with a summary of your application. The local government must then, within 90 days, send us a resolution commenting on your application (they may ask for an extension). This resolution must look at such factors as your location, proximity to other facilities, the hours you are proposing to stay open, capacity, and impact on the community if your application is approved. If the local government believes residents may be affected, it must also collect local views on your application. This may involve receiving letters in response to a public notice, conducting a public hearing or holding a referendum.
The local government's resolution may approve or deny your application. (Local governments may choose to opt out of this process. If your local government has opted out, our staff will go through the same steps.)
PST and Federal Excise Tax
All B.C. liquor manufacturers are required to charge PST on the liquor they serve, which means you will have to apply for registration as a vendor with the Consumer Taxation Branch. You must have your registration certificate in place before we can issue your licence. See the Consumer Taxation Branch website for information about the PST and the registration process.
You will also need a Federal Excise Tax licence and tax number (in the same name as the one you supply on your liquor licence application). We recommend you apply for this licence early to avoid unnecessary delays. Please see the Canada Revenue Agency web site for more information.
Liquor Distribution Branch requirements
If you are applying for a new manufacturer licence, you must contact the Liquor Distribution Branch to ensure you meet their requirements, as they are responsible for the sale and distribution of all beverage alcohol products in B.C. Contact the Finance Regulatory Department at (604) 252-3000.
Serving It Right
If you have not done so already, you and your manager(s) and anyone why may be left in charge will need to complete the Serving It Right course before you receive your licence.
Store staff and any servers you hire (wait staff and bartenders) must have a Serving It Right certificate.
Agricultural Land Reserve
If the site of your proposed winery, brewery or distillery is within the Agricultural Land Reserve, please contact the Agricultural Land Commission at (604) 660-7000 to see if they have any requirements. For example, wineries within the Agricultural Land Reserve must ensure that at least half the fruit used to produce the wine will be grown at the winery site - or - the winery is on a commercial farm (producing farm product used in winemaking) that is at least 2 hectares in area, and at least half the fruit used to make the wine comes from a B.C. farm under a 3 year contract to provide fruit to the winery.