Contents



Ministry of Justice

Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB)


Relocation of a Liquor Retail Store

This page provides information and answers to questions about liquor sales in grocery stores and relocations of liquor retail stores.

Summary of Liquor Retail Changes

Grocery Models and Eligibility

- Grocery Store Owner Resources

Information for Licensee Retail Store (LRS) Licensees

- Licensee Retail Store Resources

Information for Wine Store (WS) Licensees

- Wine Store Resources

Information for BC Liquor Stores (BCLS)

- BC Liquor Store Resources

Questions and Answers

March 16th update: Clarifications have been published to this page and attached documents, as well as the LRS and BC Liquor Store locations page.  With respect to grocery store eligibility, it is now clear that the “50% Rule” requires the majority of total sales revenue within a grocery store to come from food and non-liquor beverages; furthermore this rule and the “70% Rule” regarding non-liquor sales revenue ratios are not prerequisites for eligibility, but rather terms and conditions on the retail licence going forward. In other words, a grocery store that is not yet built nor eligible on March 31 can legally contain a liquor retailer on April 1, provided compliance is achieved from that day forward. Applicants who submitted applications prior to this update will not be affected by this update.

Summary of Liquor Retail Changes
Supporting recommendations 19 and 20 of the Liquor Policy Review, government passed regulations and policy that allow liquor retailers greater opportunity and flexibility to locate stores in ways that are more convenient to consumers and consistent between public and private stores.  Licensee Retail Stores (LRS or “private liquor stores”), BC Liquor Stores (BCLS or “government liquor stores”), and most Wine Stores (WS) will be legally permitted to locate within eligible grocery stores, starting April 1, 2015. These retail locations will also be able to co-brand with eligible grocers.  Grocery eligibility is detailed below, and requires the grocer to submit a Grocery Declaration Form (LCLB090).

The geographic restriction on LRS licences, known as the 5-kilometre rule, will be removed starting April 1, 2015, so that LRS licences will be free to relocate in any community across the province.  Another distance criteria, known as the 1-kilometre rule, will be maintained, and expanded to include BCLS sites. This means that new liquor store locations (both public and private, relocated and initial) will not be able to locate within 1 km of a site held by an existing store.  Wine Stores continue to have no geographic restrictions.

Grocery Models and Eligibility
The Store-within-a-Store model allows LRS, WS or BCLS stores to relocate within eligible grocery stores. The model allows for one-cart shopping experiences between grocery and liquor, but the liquor retailer operates as a separate business, with most of the usual terms and conditions.

The Wine-on-Shelves model is available exclusively to Wine Store licensees (VQA and Independent Wine Stores). The model allows for the sale of 100% BC Wine: stored by the grocer, stocked in designated display areas, purchased at designated check-out registers by certified employees, and with opportunities to sample the products in designated tasting areas.

Both models require controls to prevent liquor theft and access by minors, as well as measures to prevent access (lock up) store/product during any grocery store hours that are outside the operating hours for liquor retail sales.  Only one liquor retailer may be present in a given grocery store location.  LRS and BCLS grocery sites still need to comply with the 1-kilometre rule.  For further detail, please refer to Policy Directive 15-01.

Eligible grocery stores:

  • Are primarily engaged in retailing a general line of foods (including beverages) for human consumption.
  • Are at least 10,000 square feet in size, including storage space.
  • Will have food sales revenue accounting for over 70% of the total non-liquor sales revenue each year.
  • Will have food sales revenue accounting for over 50% of the total sales revenue each year, including liquor sales from a retailer located in the grocery store.

Grocery Store Owner Resources

Information for Licensee Retail Store (LRS) Licensees
Complete applications are required to establish an applicant’s placement in the queue; however, this does not ensure successful relocation approval.  Approval will be subject to distance-criteria assessment, along with other follow-up requirements and assessments.  Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by LCLB as soon as possible, and may be encouraged to submit a new application for a different prospective location.

Licensee Retail Store Resources

Information for Wine Store (WS) Licensees
VQA licences seeking to relocate within an eligible grocery store using the “Wine-on-Shelves” model are advised that doing so will require that they appoint the grocer as the new third-party operator (LCLB026) of the store.

Independent Wine Stores (IWS) licences seeking to relocate within an eligible grocery store using the “Wine-on-Shelves” model are advised that doing so will require that the IWS licence is owned by grocer. If this is not already the case, then a Wine Store Transfer of Ownership (LCLB001C) application form must be submitted to LCLB.  IWS licences located on grocery store shelves will be subject to a term and condition on the licence restricting the licensee from selling products other than 100% BC Wines (i.e. wines, ciders, sakes and meads made in B.C. using BC agricultural products).

Wine Store Resources

Information for BC Liquor Stores (BCLS)
Starting February 27, 2015, the BC Liquor Distribution Branch may download and submit the BCLS Application for Site Assessment form in order to notify the general manager of LCLB with information regarding the prospective location of a new or relocated BCLS site.  These forms will be reviewed alongside LRS Relocation Applications for compliance with the new 1-kilometre rule, in the order in which they were received.

BC Liquor Store Resources