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June 28, 2014   Published in:

Unhappy “happy hours” in BC

Author: Sergey Brusentsov

Several days ago the provincial government implemented its Happy Hour policies, making B.C. the last province to introduce liquor discounts at bars, pubs and restaurants during certain hours of the day.

However, the new mandated minimum pricing for drinks are now the highest amongst the Canadian provinces – and these prices are effective during all hours of the day, not just during Happy Hour.

According to a provincial government news release, “the introduction of minimum drink pricing is intended to prevent aggressive pricing strategies that may lead to intoxication.”

Happy Hour is meant to provide both businesses and consumers with flexible pricing options, but the latest pricing stipulations seem to have completely defeated the original purpose of the reformed law.

Minimum liquor pricing for each Canadian province

British Columbia (not including sales tax)

  • Draught beer: $0.25 per oz. minimum ($3 per 12 oz. sleeve; $5 per 20 oz. pint; $15 per 60 oz. jug)
  • Packaged beer, cider or coolers: $0.25 per oz. minimum ($3.00 per 12 oz. bottle or 355 ml per can)
  • Wine, fortified wine and sake: $0.60 per oz. minimum ($3 per 5 oz. glass; $3.60 per 6 oz. glass; $5.40 per 9 oz. glass; $15.85 per 26.4 oz)
  • Liquers/Spirits: $3 per oz. minimum

Alberta

  • Draught beer: $0.16 per oz. minimum
  • Packaged beer, cider or coolers: $2.75 per 12 oz. minimum
  • Wine, fortified wine and sake: $0.35 per oz. minimum
  • Liquers/Spirits: $2.75 per oz. minimum

Saskatchewan

  • Draught beer: $0.16 per oz. minimum
  • Packaged beer, cider or coolers: $2.25 per 12 oz. minimum
  • Wine, fortified wine and sake: $0.35 per oz. minimum
  • Liquers/Spirits: $2.25 per oz. minimum

Manitoba

  • Draught beer: $0.18 per oz. minimum
  • Packaged beer, cider or coolers: $2.25 per 12 oz. minimum
  • Wine, fortified wine and sake: $0.45 per oz. minimum
  • Liquers/Spirits: $2.25 per oz. minimum

Ontario

  • Draught beer: $0.167 per oz. minimum
  • Packaged beer, cider or coolers: $2.00 per 12 oz. minimum
  • Wine, fortified wine and sake: $0.40 per oz. minimum
  • Liquers/Spirits: $2.00 per oz. minimum

Quebec
Quebec sets minimum pricing for beer, but not for wine or spirits. Minimum pricing for beer is based on alcohol content.

  • Less than 4.1% alcohol beer: $2.828 per liter minimum
  • 4.1% to 4.9% alcohol beer: $2.9605 per liter minimum
  • 4.9% to 6.2% alcohol beer: $3.0710 per liter minimum
  • Over 6.2% alcohol beer: $3.1740 per liter minimum

New Brunswick

  • Draught beer: $0.11 per oz. minimum
  • Packaged beer, cider or coolers: $0.125 per oz. minimum
  • Wine, fortified wine and sake: $0.375 per oz. minimum
  • Liquers/Spirits: $1.50 per oz. minimum

Newfoundland
Liquor cannot be priced at less than $1.65 for the following standard serving sizes:

  • 341 ml of beer
  • 355 ml of a refreshment beverage
  • 118 ml of wine
  • 30 ml of spirits

Nova Scotia
Standard serving sizes of 12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine or 1 oz. of spirits cannot be sold for less than $2.50.
Prince Edward Island

  • Beer 341 ml (12 oz.) per bottle or glass: $2.95 minimum
  • Draught Beer 8 oz. glass: $1.50 minimum
  • Wine 142 ml (5 oz.) per glass: $3.55 minimum
  • Spirits 28.4 ml (1 oz.) per glass: $2.35 minimum
  • Coolers 341 ml (12 oz.) per bottle: $3.55 minimum

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