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BC ban on Russian liquor products not expected to put a huge dent in sales

The Alliance of Beverage Licensees does not believe the ban of Russian products at BC government liquor stores will have a huge impact on sales.

On Friday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issued a statement announcing the measure:

“As we stand with those who want to live in peace and against those who commit deplorable and illegal acts of aggression, we have put an immediate halt to the importing and sale of Russian liquor products from our BC Liquor Stores and provincial liquor distribution centres.”

Executive Director, Jeff Guignard told Vista Radio two major things have happened since the announcement was made.

“Pubs, restaurants, bars, and private liquor stores have simply pulled all Russian products off their shelves or some folks have continued to keep the products on there because they literally paid for them months ago but we are selling them and then donating 100% of the proceeds from those sales to the Red Cross’s Ukrainian Humanitarian Fund.”

At the end of the day, Guignard does not see the recent sanction making a huge difference to consumers.

“There’s only about 25 different liquor products in BC that are from Russia – things like Russian Standard Vodka. Even if we are selling off our inventory now and donating those proceeds we will not be restocking them.”

“We have many other products like vodkas that are from other countries that are equal or superior quality to them. We’ll just encourage customers to purchase other products instead and I don’t anticipate it’s going to be a significant part of it. They are not a big part of the Canadian liquor market in general, there are not enough skews here from them and it will not be doing any significant damage to sales even though customers may not see their preferred brand on there.”

As for when this ban will end, Guignard stated that is anyone’s guess.

“Oh, no one can tell right now. Our focus is simply to either get them off the shelves or sell them and donate the proceeds go to the Red Cross where they can do some good, we have no idea how long the conflict will go on and when the band will end. We will be reviewing that in the days ahead.”

The BC Liquor Distribution Branch also provided the following points:

  • As a branch of the provincial government, the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) stands with the provincial and federal governments in deploring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Following a government directive issued Friday, the LDB put a halt on the generation of import purchase orders and the sale of Russian liquor products from its wholesale distribution centres and BCLIQUOR stores.
  • The LDB will hold all Russian-derived products that it currently has on hand at its distribution centres until it receives further direction from the minister responsible.
  • The LDB distributes a total of 28 individual products through its wholesale distribution system – 26 vodka products and two beer products.
  • In support of the people of Ukraine, BCLIQUOR and BC Cannabis Stores will launch a fundraising campaign, with all donations going towards the Canadian Red Cross’ Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal.
  • Donations can be made at the till at any BCLIQUOR or BC Cannabis Store.

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