Sask., B.C. reach deal on direct wine, spirits sales

Consumers in each of British Columbia and Saskatchewan may be able to order wine and craft spirits directly from the other province’s producers, starting next summer, without having to involve the Crown or third-party vendors.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced an agreement Friday they said will “lift barriers to consumers and enables free trade, benefiting consumers and strengthening the Canadian wine and craft distillers industries.”

The agreement, not yet implemented, would allow consumers in both provinces to order B.C. or Saskatchewan wines and craft spirits directly from producers and have them delivered “to their doorstep.”

The deal’s terms are to be drafted in “coming weeks” for implementation on June 17, 2015, the provinces said.

It would enable consumers to access a “much broader” selection of wines and craft spirits than previously available, and opens up new markets for wineries and distilleries, the two provinces said.

Consumers have been limited to wines or spirits available for sale through Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority stores in Saskatchewan, and B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch and private liquor stores in B.C.

Wall and Clark said they will continue talks on options to open up trade in craft beer.

The federal government in 2012 lifted a federal barrier preventing Canadians from moving wine from one province to another for personal use.

Today, however, only B.C. and Manitoba allow wine to be directly shipped from producers in other provinces for personal use, and Nova Scotia has similar legislation in the works.

Tyler Dyck of the B.C. Craft Distillers Guild said in the provinces’ release Friday the group is “pleased to see that B.C. and Saskatchewan have committed to removing barriers to access for consumers to Canadian products.”

“As a Saskatchewan distillery, this sounds like a positive step for both producers and consumers,” Colin Schmidt of Last Mountain Lake Distillery at Lumsden, Sask. said in the same release. “We have a loyal following in Saskatchewan and cannot wait to share our award winning spirits with consumers in British Columbia.” — Network



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