A front page story in this week's Business in Vancouver ("Entrepreneurial spirits dampened") explains that BC's artisan spirits industry wants to be treated like BC's wine industry. The article chronicles numerous problems including the familiar ones of hefty LDB markups as well as with the inefficiency of the LDB distribution system. At the present time, all spirits in BC, including locally produced artisan spirits, are routed through the LDB distribution system and are subject to full LDB markup (170%). As a result, the artisan spirits industry is asking for "direct delivery" treatment such that they can bypass the LDB system and its markups. While I have sympathy for their concerns, this is a thorny issue ... because it demonstrates the general inequity with the current BC distribution system and its many inherent structural problems: how is the government going to extend direct delivery to artisan spirits without also addressing the trade issue of discrimination against imported products? The obvious solution is a complete overhaul of the current system but I'm not holding my breath on that one. 

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