B.C.’s New Alcohol Pricing Could Cause Problems

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VICTORIA, B.C. — The minimum price of beer pitchers has dropped in B.C., creating a slight price differential that may lead customers to over-imbibe to get a good deal, says the Vancouver-based Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC).

The B.C. government set a new pricing category for draft beer and cider greater than 50 ounces, priced at a minimum of 20 cents per ounce. It has also announced a $3-per-ounce price for spirits.

The new pricing rules also dictated that all 20-ounce pints must sell for at least $5, which amounts to 25 cents per ounce, five cents more per ounce than a pitcher option. ABLE BC reps worry that the cheaper price-per-ounce option will lead customers to choose pitchers for greater value and become intoxicated. “That becomes a concern for us when we’re trying to ensure all our customers are drinking responsibly and getting home safely,” Jeff Guignard, executive director of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees told the Vancouver Sun. “That’s one of the unintended consequences, and that’s a concern for us.”

These pricing updates reflect the prices patrons want to pay, says government leaders. “When we announced B.C.’s minimum prices, along with the introduction of happy hour, we were clear that we’d keep a close eye on how these prices impacted consumers and businesses,” said Suzanne Anton, B.C.’s attorney general and the minister of justice. “Creating a new category for draught beer in servings over 50 oz. is a fair balance for consumers that still takes into account the views of business owners and health-and-safety advocates.”

To view the infographic on new alcohol prices in B.C., visit the B.C. government’s Flickr account.

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