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Comparing BC to WA and AB on Liquor Regulation/Distribution PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Hicken   
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 01:41

 This chart compares BC to its neighbours, Washington state and Alberta, on various aspects of liquor regulation and distribution, with a focus on wine.


WA (after I-1183)


Retail Structure



Mixed Govt and Private Retail,

Multiple Private License Types with Spirits in Most Private Stores

Fully Private, Beer/Wine in Supermarkets & Other Retailers, Spirits restricted to large stores (10,000 sq ft)

Fully Private, Single Retail License Type with restrictions (e.g. no supermarkets)

Wholesale Structure



Government Monopoly

Fully Private

Contracted out to private company

by government monopoly

Annual Liquor Revenue to Prov/State Govt (2009)

$877 M

$425 M before I-1183 (estimated to increase about 50% after I-1183)

$684 M

Per Capita Liquor Revenue to Prov/State Govt




Absolute Alcohol Consumption Per Capita


8.6-8.7 L

(median age of population is 38.5)

8.8 L

(median age of population is 37.3)

9.1 L

(median age of population is 35)

Beer/Wine Retail Structure


Primarily treated the same as spirits.

Broader availability of beer/wine

Treated the same as spirits.

Number of Retail Outlets Selling Spirits

1091 +



Density of Outlets Selling Spirits by population




Wholesale Pricing Structure



All prices fixed by LDB monopoly.

Free market competition except for beer.

Free market competition.

Wholesale Distribution Process


All imported wine and

spirits go through

govt warehouses. Limited exemptions for other products.

Free market except for beer.

Single private company

operates wholesale system.

Retail Competition


Virtually none due to price

fixing at wholesale level.

Free market.

Free market.

Tax Structure

(with examples for wine)




LDB Fees ($0.80 per litre), LDB Markup (123%), HST (12%)

Retail and distributor license fees based on percent value of spirits sold, liquor taxes ($0.45 per litre), sales tax (approx. 8%)

“Flat Tax” AGLC Markup

($3.35 per litre), GST (5%)

Prov/State Taxes on

a bottle of wine

selling for $15


$7.11 LDB markup,

$0.60 LDB fees,

$0.94 sales tax

$0.34 WA  liquor tax,

$1.11 sales tax

$2.59 flat tax markup

Annual Retailer

License Fees


Based on liquor volume sold, maximum of $2200.

17% of spirits sales plus annual fee of $166.


Annual Distributor

License Fees




10% of spirits sales plus

annual fee of $1320.

$200 initial registration fee

Wholesale Liquor Discounts Given to Restaurants?




Corkage Permitted





Happy Hours Permitted?





Est. Restaurant Price

for $10 Bottle of Wine

from California




Add’l Sales Tax on Bill





Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 December 2011 05:00 )