Almost three months after the province adoped a new wholesale liquor pricing model the owner of the Marquis Wine Cellars says prices are up and the government needs to make some changes.
John Clerides says the new pricing model and allowing government stores to open on Sundays is sideswiping his business.
“The first day of Sunday openings were down 20% and it is kind of continued.”
Clerides says importers like him now have to wait three or four weeks to get a retail price from the liquor distribution branch.
“It is impossible for an importer to budget or a restauranteur to budget because they don’t how much they are paying for a bottle of wine, for speciality products, or a new listing. Who invents a system like that?”
Clerides says since April 1st prices are up and people are subsidizing wine prices at government stores.
“The really popular commodity wines if we bought them today our price is more than we paid for April 1st. Secondly the liquor board, they are paying the same price as us, but they are selling those wines at below there operating cost.”
Clerides says the number of wine buyers heading to Alberta to stock shelves in a store or at home in order to save a buck is going up and up.
“I explained this to Minister Anton and the assistant Attorney General Lori Wanamaker and they had no idea of the amount of cross border shopping. It wasn’t even on their radar and I can tell you it is significant. As an economy we want to keep people here in BC but they seem to want to drive them out.”
He says his business will survive but it has essentially been set back by about five years of hard work.
“We are just sharpening our pencil and grinding our suppliers but the consumer is the one who gets the short end of the stick.”
Clerides says the province needs to admit mistakes have been made and tweak the system to level the playing field.
He says one quick solution would be to allow stores like his to sell beer as government stores already compete on the wine side.