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Liquor Licensing & Enforcement Law

Opening a beer and wine store or converting a restaurant into a pub can be complicated with the recent changes in BC’s liquor laws. Our Liquor Licensing and Enforcement Lawyers can help guide you through the process.

While the BC government is streamlining 19 different kinds of licence categories down to four, there is still a complex maze of red tape you have to go through. The new licence categories will be “food primary,” for businesses like cafes and restaurants; and “liquor primary,” for businesses like bars, pubs and lounges. In addition, establishments will soon be eligible to serve alcohol until 4 a.m., subject to local government approval and the consent of the liquor control and licensing branch.

There are also local regulations and bylaws as well as neighbourhood concerns to take into account. Your application might require a local plebiscite, and there are five distinct stages you must go through with government licensing authorities before you can get your approval. Even if you are successful in getting your license there are ways you can and cannot advertise, promote and run your business. In fact, liquor licensing can be one of the most complex areas of Administrative Law, one that demands its own specialization. If you’re thinking of opening an establishment that needs a liquor license or if you have a liquor licensing situation that needs to be resolved, contact our Liquor Licensing professional.