There might be wine for sale at this year’s Light Up Art and Craft Fair and other similar events held throughout the region.
British Columbia’s wine, beer and spirit producers and their customers got an early gift this year with the announcement that liquor sales can now be a part of annual artisanal markets.
“We are pleased with the recent changes announced to allow for BC wine, beer and spirits to be sold at craft and artisanal markets throughout the province. People really enjoyed seeing our wineries at Farmers’ Markets and now this is an extension, allowing for wine sales at craft and artisanal markets,” Caroline Cottrill, president of the Similkameen Wineries Association said.
An annual market is described as taking place once a year and may be open for up to 35 consecutive days (in the same location).
“It’s a natural fit as the types of products sold at these types of events are local, handmade goods, and adding local, handcrafted BC wine, beer and spirits is a perfect complement. Now you can go to a holiday craft market and buy your locally made jams, vinegars, Christmas ornaments, knitted-wear and locally made wine, beer and spirits. Your holiday shopping just got easier,” she said.
This new announcement rides on the coattails of a the decision to allow liquor sales at farmers’ markets.
As with all updates to B.C.’s liquor landscape, health and safety is top of mind. All market vendors selling and serving alcohol are required to have Serving It Right training, to ensure they understand the responsibilities and risks associated with alcohol.
“Liquor sales at farmers’ markets has been so well received throughout the province that we’ve decided to build on the model, adding artisan markets into the fold. Artisan markets focus on high-quality, handmade goods and I think they’ll be a great fit for the many craftspeople who create, produce and take great pride in their spirits, wine and brews here in British Columbia. This is another innovative way to further support B.C. liquor producers, many of which are small businesses, while at the same time offering consumers additional choices,” Coralee Oakes, Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction said in a press release.
Not included in the new regulations are flea markets and commercial/import markets.
Artisanal markets that allow the selling of liquor must be comprised of at least six vendors that do not sell or serve liquor to ensure the focus of the market continues to be artisan crafts.
Liquor sales at artisan and farmers markets are a choice left to each individual market and municipality to adopt.