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Jun 9, 2009 07:39 PM

minor rant

so i was at a wine tasting at the signature bcls, cambie on sunday and seeing as i never shop there, other end of town for me, i looked forward to the riesling (which was nice) and picking up some cold beers to go, as only a very few stores sell cold ones, only the signature ones i was once told, so when i was time to go i searched and searched for where the coolers could be to no avail, asked a staff member only to find out to my amazement that they don't have one, bear in mind that store is pretty much their flagship store and you can only buy warm beer, i was even willing to pay the ridiculous "service charge" of 10 cents per unit, i know our liquor laws are a joke (no byob in restos etc) but when being able to buy cold beer is considered a rare luxury its just plain sad

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  1. yeah, whoever told you signature bcls have coolers gave you totally bogus info.

    cambie st bcls has a pretty good selection of beer, but even better is firefly on cambie near 12th and brewery creek on main. all nice and cold and ready to drink! ^_^

    spread that money around!

    Brewery Creek Cold Beer & Wine Store
    3045 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T, CA

    Firefly Fine Wines and Ales
    2857 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z, CA

    9 Replies
    1. re: flowbee

      that person was actually a bcls employee

      1. re: flowbee

        btw i i'm so used to shopping @bcls i was always under the impression that the private guys weren't price competitive

        1. re: vandan

          It's the selection that makes a difference for me. Have a look at Brewery Creek's beer and cider offerings for example.

          1. re: fmed

            unfortunately the private stores are way more inconvient compared to bcls

            1. re: vandan

              But I thought you wanted cold beer? If so, the inconvenience is greater at the BCL. There is very little product overlap between places like Firefly and Brewery Creek for beer. It's more expensive by a few bucks here and there, but the product is often much better (and it's cold).

              1. re: peter.v

                the bottom line is that i think its crazy that i can't get cold beer at the bcls and that i shouldn't have to pay the premium at the privates, i mean its about as basic as it gets

              2. re: vandan

                Yes that is true...especially for parking.

                1. re: vandan

                  How is it more inconvenient? Private store's hours are longer and they have coolers. Also, as someone else has said, the product in GOOD private stores don't overlap very much with the BCLDB. So yes, it's more expensive but considering you can't actually buy most of the product that is in the private stores in the BCLDB the price difference doesn't even matter.

                  FYI: the reason why BCLDB doesn't have coolers is because when they introduced the private 'cold beer and wine stores' one of the provisions was that the BCLDB couldn't have coolers so as to not compete with the new stores.

                  1. re: Cancuk

                    its less convieient because i stop in on my way home and there are no privates along the route, thats how

          2. I work quite closely with the liquor industry in BC. I've seen the industry from both sides.

            Here are the basic facts for a consumer:

            No, you can't buy cold anything at a government run store.

            Quite a few private stores, especially in the lower mainland, (although not in Vancouver proper, to my knowledge) are actually cheaper than the government ones. Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, New West, Mission, etc., have quite different stories. A lot of stores in those districts are actually the same price or cheaper.

            Most privately run stores are more expensive. They absolutely do not want to be. They buy their product from the government stores at a 16% discount from the retail price of the government stores. This does not mean they are getting the product cheaper than the LDB. In fact, the LDB inflates their cost on the product 159% on average. That's why you can by a six pack in the States for $3 and spend $12 up here. This means, if a private store matches prices with the LDB, they make a 16% gross margin. That's before having to pay for its staff, the roof over its head, the cooler, the other utilities, and the various taxes. This pricing structure also amounts to the government taxing liquor and then taxing it again. Technically, tax on tax is illegal in Canada, but no one has tried to bring this particular point to court, though it is well enough known. It also amounts to that private store making about 50 cents on that six pack you've just bought. The government's made about $9-10.

            Selection or service depend greatly on which store you go to in both government and private stores. Go to one of the privately run wine shops in Vancouver and ask a staff member for help. Go to a government store and try the same. Then, for fairness, go to some hole in the wall downtown.

            Private stores actually have access to far more selection than government stores, based on the current system. They can carry things the LDB is barred from putting on their shelves. Most will order something in for you, if you ask.

            In my experience, LDB employees will trash private stores given any opportunity. Cashiers in government stores can be paid as much as $35 dollars an hour with (great) benefits. Some see the position as a career. As a cashier.

            Private stores can discount. Some will say they can't. They can. Use that information as you feel fit. LDB stores cannot give you a discount on anything.

            Chill charges do exist in some private stores, but they are dying out as competition increases.

            Vancouver proper lacks enough convenient liquor stores for two reasons: 1. the province has put a moratorium on opening new private ones to appease the union and 2. the city has not allowed new private ones to be built in quite some time. Any new ones you've seen are the result of another one closing down somewhere, or somebody's political connections.

            I could go on, but enough for now.

            6 Replies
              1. re: Leibowitz

                Wow, that pisses me off. Cheese is also more expensive in Canada than other countries. :( But I still see a lot of positives in going to smaller specialty cheese shops for their selection and knowledge -- same as going to specialty beer shops.

                1. re: Leibowitz

                  Very interesting stuff, Leibowitz, thank you for that. It gives me all the more reason to feel good about the fact that I switched to brewing my own at home.

                  1. re: cdnprairiedog

                    I think there are enough liquor stores of whatever denomination in Vancouver as is and there's no need for any more.

                    The last thing I want to see is a store dispensing booze on every corner like some countries-I say this having grown up with an alcoholic in the family.

                    As to buying 'non-cold' beer a person can remedy that in 5 minutes with a slurry of water and ice-if they can't wait 5 minutes for a cold beer they are past all hope (present company excluded of course!)

                    1. re: Sam Salmon

                      In all fairness Sam, an alcoholic will obtain it no matter what laws are on the books.

                      What the civic and provincial governments have done with the moratorium and absurd pricing structure is allow a bunch of protected mini-monopolies to spring up. This amounts to protectionism for a few well-connected individuals and groups, both private and public. The consumer is worse off in this situation.

                  2. re: Leibowitz

                    Wow - $35/hour + benefits. Why oh why did I work so hard for years in school when I could've had a "career" as an LDB cashier with decent hours and little responsibility?!

                  3. that was one of the biggest surprises in moving to alberta from vancouver - not only is there infinitely more selection but the liquor stores (big and small) keep the beer in a refridgerated room - there's usually some wine in there too :)

                    prices are cheaper as well - while a friend from vancouver was visiting, he wanted to get a bottle of wine he enjoyed. in bc he paid $28 for said wine, in calgary it was $18.95. as a wine lover, moving to alberta has huge advantage in that department - i don't miss the ridiculous liquor laws.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pants

                      Ah, but don't forget our (I live in Calgary) provincial government just raised it's own markup rates significantly (back in March and April). On average, Alberta now has some of the highest retail prices for liquor on the continent - higher than BC in some locals. Individual products will vary, though.

                      Yeah, the Alberta Government still controls the liquor industry at its highest levels, including wholesale distribution (farmed out to a few private oligarchies like Connect Logistics and BDL).