Special Event Permit Changes in BC

There have been a number of changes to Special Event Permits (SEP) in BC.
Effective February 1, 2019, permittees holding a large public special event, which is not of a charitable purpose and has 500 attendees or more, must have no more than 80% by dollar value of one manufacturer’s liquor in each liquor category (i.e., beer, cider, wine, or spirits).

There must be equal opportunity to purchase all liquor at the event (i.e.; all beer is chilled, all brands appear on signage). The SEP holder must produce a purchase receipt and product return records, if applicable, to a liquor inspector upon request.

SEP holders with an event of a charitable purpose are not required to sell a selection of liquor from a variety of manufacturers.

The policy surrounding special events held in the tasting area of a manufacturer’s establishment were also revised, effective November 26, 2018. If you, or a group, want to hold an event under a special event permit in a lounge endorsement area, special event area endorsement or picnic area, you must apply to the Branch to temporarily suspend the service area(s) under your licence where the event is to be held.

When an event under a SEP is held in a manufacturer’s onsite store, the licensee is not required to temporarily suspend the service area but must only sell packaged liquor for off-site consumption for the duration of the event.

During the SEP in any service area of the establishment, opened liquor, including samples, must not be sold or served. Only liquor purchased under the SEP may be served for on-site consumption.

In order to provide equal treatment to public and private retailers, effective November 26 agents may offer value-added promotional items to private sector retailers regardless of whether that same promotion has been offered to BC Liquor Stores.