British Columbia

B.C. government now allows for hobby brewers, vintners to hold competitions

Starting immediately, hobbyists brewers and vintners in B.C. will be able to apply for a special occasion licence to hold an event where their beverages can be tasted by judges and attendees.

Events must be free for people who attend, but competitors can be charged a fee

Included in a number of changes to B.C.'s liquors laws is a provision to apply for a license to hold judged competitions between hobbyist brewers or vintners. (CBC)

The province has announced hobby brewers and vintners will now be allowed to host competitions to pit their drinks against each other. 

In a release, the government says hobby makers of beer, wine, cider, and mead can now apply for a special occasion licence to hold a tasting competition. 

Events must be free for people who attend, but competitors can be charged a fee. 

Previously, special occasion licensees could only serve commercially-manufactured liquor to raise funds for charitable purposes.

The event must also comply with private event licensing criteria by limiting attendees to members or staff of the host organization, invited guests or people provided tickets, free of charge, before the event. 

The beer, wine, cider and mead entered in the competitions must be made at home or in a licensed UBrew or UVin establishment.

Numerous liquor law changes

"We applaud this announcement," said Joe Wiebe, co-founder of Victoria Beer Week as part of the release, adding that a home-brewing workshop at the event is one of the most popular features.

"This year it sold out within a couple days of going on sale. Maybe next year we will include a home-brewing competition now that it is permitted."

The provincial government has been steadily rolling out changes to B.C.'s liquor laws as 73 recommendations were made as part of a review.

This latest change is number 40.


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