The LCBO and the Manitoba liquor control board have recently threatened two BC wineries for direct shipping to out of province customers (see Vancouver Sun story ). In addition, they contacted the BC LCLB who is now warning wineries that it is illegal to make such shipments under the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act. The legal background to these issues is covered in my earlier article on shipping for the industry .
The impetus for all of this is, of course, lost revenue. Direct shipments to wineries in other provinces bypass the relevant liquor boards and their regime of markups/fees/taxes. However, Manitoba and Ontario do not have a monopoly on this type of behaviour. BC\’s rules with respect to wine coming into this province are exactly the same (see s.65 of the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Act).
With 2010 on the horizon, isn\’t it time for Canada\’s liquor boards to reform this system? A prohibition era system of liquor distribution is simply not appropriate for Canada in the 21st century … particularly, as we try to encourage and expand an increasingly successful wine industry.
Update (Sept 19/08): Please see my updated article on shipping for more information on this issue . A thorough legal analysis will also be posted shortly. Please contact me directly for additional information.