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Posted: January 28, 2021

New liquor licence class for rural agency stores

The B.C. government today announced it has approved the transition of Rural Agency Store (RAS) authorizations to a new Rural Licensee Retail Store (RLRS) liquor licence regulated by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB).

This move is in response to industry feedback and recommendation #21 in the 2018 Business and Technical Advisory Panel report.

RAS establishments are the only remaining private liquor retailers not yet regulated by the LCRB. Introducing the RLRS liquor licence will provide a more consistent regulatory and enforcement approach to liquor store retailing in B.C., ensuring all liquor retailers follow the same regulations as other licensees in the province.

RAS establishments are typically independently owned, full-service general grocery stores located in rural communities and tourist destinations where liquor service is not readily available. Previously, RAS were granted authorizations by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) to sell packaged liquor on behalf of the LDB.

The new RLRS liquor licence will enable licensed RAS operators to independently sell liquor in their establishments in accordance with liquor laws and the terms and conditions of the licence class.

Current RAS operators who meet eligibility requirements will be automatically transferred to the new licence class.

When the new RLRS licence class comes into effect Feb. 26, the RLRS licence will be open to new applications through the LCRB’s liquor and cannabis licensing portal.

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