What's happening with distilleries in BC?

Our wonderful province has seen some significant changes in the distilling space in the last year or so. At BC Distilled we think this is good news - for everyone who cares about drinking locally produced spirits, about seeing the industry grow, about supporting the BC economy (including farmers, distillers, bars, restaurants), and most importantly about creating a market that can start to innovate and produce great products. So what's changed. Why are we so excited?

If distilleries:

1. Produce less than 50,000L a year, and 2. use 100% BC agricultural goods, which they 3. distill on site,

then they can call themselves a craft distillery.

The magic of the craft distiller label ...

In BC, our craft distilleries can sell their spirits on site and save on the big fat BC Liquor retail mark-up. This is the thing that's really important: BC Liquor Distribution Board charges 163% markup on liquor products sold in their retail locations. They used to charge the same markup even if the liquor was sold directly at the distillery. Now they don't for direct sales.

Let's put that another way: on a $45 bottle of gin, if you buy it direct from your local craft distillery, thats around an extra $20-25 in your local craft distiller's pocket.  It's not a small amount, and it's probably one of the main reasons why distilleries are starting to pop up everyone -- a lot of them in urban areas.

These kinds of changes can have a big impact on the amount of fun we as consumers have. In Washington State, where they made similar changes in 2008, they went from a couple of craft distillery to dozens today. Do you think their resident gin and whisky aficionados are having more fun or less now?

There are even more changes our government can make to promote this industry, just to level the playing field with our fine local wineries and breweries. But it's a good start.

Now let's celebrate with a martini.