18 month after the BC Government approved BC VQA Wine sales in grocery stores the rollout continues at a glacial pace with less than 50% of the VQA licenses moving to grocery stores. As expected the sales through Grocery stores are strong and fall in line with global standards, where eventually 65% + will eventually be sold through this channel.
Highlights of December 2015 BC Wine sales include¹:
- The 4 grocery stores accounted for 30% of total VQA license sales
- Highest grossing non-grocery store was $218,000; highest grocery (Save-On-Foods South Point) was $264,000 (21% higher)
- Average non-grocery gross sales – $124,000; Average grocery store gross sales – $195,000 (57% higher)
Grocery Stores Selling BC Wine Now
British Columbia Wine Institute communicated that an agreement was reached between the Wine Institute and Overwaitea Food Group (Save On Foods) that all VQA wine stores would be sold exclusively to the Overwaitea Food Group. The 11 store location currently selling wine are:
- Surrey (SouthPoint and Fleetwood)
- Maple Ridge (East)
- Kelowna (Orchard Plaza and Mission Park)
- Langley (Downtown)
- White Rock (Semiahmoo Mall)
- Prince George (Spruceland)
- Kamloops (Sahali)
Loblaw’s Awarded 6 VQA licenses for $6.9M
November 4, 2016, the BC Government announced that Loblaw’s was the successful bidder in the first round of special wine store licence auctions and has received approval in principle from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) for six liquor licences that allow for the sale of 100% BC wine on grocery store shelves. The first six auctions are projected to raise $6,914,000 in revenue for the Province, which goes toward funding government programs.
This current initiative paves the way for few in the grocery industry to control the retailing of BC wine. This may not be in the best interest of the small and medium-size wineries²
Vancouver the outlier for Grocery sales
The Vancouver City Council decided on December 16, 2015 to temporarily hold off on grocery store wine sales until a larger review is conducted. This means Vancouverites will have to be content with government liquor stores, private liquor stores, and a decreasing number of VQA wine stores, at least for the time being (3).
In other locations, the initial objection of grocery wine sales has been overcome with a number of municipalities leaving it up to the Provincial Government to make the rules on transfer of licenses to grocery stores (4)
As a wine enthusiast, I support the move to grocery sales as soon as possible.
My local Save-on-Foods does a great job of promoting the local wineries with daily wine tastings.
They provide a 10% discount if you purchase more than 6 bottles of any wine. Some of my friends take advantage of this pricing to obtain discounts similar to the winery wine clubs, without having to take a wine they are not interested in. You can phone the store and have a case of your favourite BC Wine available for local pick up.
Would love to hear your comments on your BC Wine in Grocery stores experience!
- GROCERY WINE SALES: UPDATE ON THE ISSUES Vancouver, BC February 22, 2016 Vancouver International Wine Festival Seventh Annual Wine & Liquor Law Seminar by Al Hudec.
- VQA WINE LICENSE AUCTION May 6, 2016 Bert Hick