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Law Changes For Liquor Consumption

New liquor legislation that took effect November 1 means Manitobans can now bring their own bottle of unopened wine to restaurants to have with a meal.

This makes Manitoba the sixth province to let patrons BYOW. The initiative is voluntary, meaning diners will need to first check with restaurants to see if they allow it.

Only commercially made wine is permitted, and restaurants can set their own fees, called corkage fees, to open the bottle.

The move is expected to benefit smaller restaurants that do not carry a large inventory of wines, said MLCC spokesperson Diana Soroka.

The BYOW initiative is one of several changes that have been made to the province s Liquor Control Act under its new hospitality strategy.

Others include making a new class of licence available for brew pubs, or licensed premises which make beer for on-premise consumption as well as off-premise sales. Brew pubs are on the rise elsewhere in Canada and the introduction of them here is expected to spur the creation of more Made-in- Manitoba beverages, MLCC officials say.

Brew pubs and microbreweries across North America and Europe have become increasingly popular in recent years, said Roman Zubach, acting MLCC president and CEO in a news release. Recognizing them in legislation not only promotes economic development within our province, it increases Manitoba s appeal as a tourist destination.

Other amendments to the Liquor Control Act now mean holders of liquor licences will be able to renew for three-year terms, reducing the paperwork associated with acquiring a licence.

All licensed premises (and occasional permit events) can now also stay open until 2 a.m. seven days a week (except Easter Sunday) under the new laws.

It means beverage rooms no longer need to close at midnight Sunday nights, said Soroka, adding that events such as socials can also now serve liquor for an additional hour. Municipalities can, however, restrict the hours if they so choose by their own bylaws.

But none of these changes mean liquor laws are becoming more lax, Soroka said.

The province has also brought in other changes that aim for creating a more responsible environment, for consuming liquor, she said.

Manitoba has now put its social responsibility programming in law under the amended Liquor Control Act. Previously, it was something we did because we thought it was the right thing to do.

Some of those changes include doubling the price of a fine for disorderly conduct involving alcohol to $655.65 which is now the highest fine in the country, and stiffer penalties for bar owners whose patrons get rowdy both inside and outside the premises.

There are also new requirements for photo ID to crack down on underage drinking.

For more information about the changes to Manitoba s liquor laws visit www.mlcchospitality.com.

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MANITOBA S EVOLVING LIQUOR LAWS

Aug. 7, 1923:The province creates the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission, and it sold its first liquor six weeks later.

1956:Home delivery service begins: For 35 cents Manitobans can have up to 12 bottles of liquor or wine delivered.

1968:Liquor Control Act amended to allow people to make homemade wine and serve alcohol with restaurant meals on Sundays.

Late 1960s:MLCC begins conversion of outlets from having people mark down a product on a piece of paper and hand it to a clerk, who would get the bottle, to a self-serve system.

1970:Amendment allows Manitobans to dance where liquor is sold.

1975:Act amended so women can handle, serve and sell beer in beer parlours.

1979:Liquor can be sold in a beverage or cocktail room on Sundays, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, but only with meals.

1982:Amendment ends MLCC control of prices in beer parlours.

1984:Amendment allows non-Canadian citizens to apply for liquor licences.

1993:Amendment allows privately owned specialty wine stores.

2001:Amendment allows the sale of alcohol on Sundays in Liquor Marts, cabarets, beverage rooms and non-sport private clubs. As well, the province sets the minimum price for alcoholic drinks at $2.25.

2005:Diners can take home a recorked wine that had been served with a meal from a restaurant.

2007:Patrons can carry their drinks into washrooms.

2011:Province proposes several amendments, including allowing Liquor Mart boutiques in grocery stores and the ability to bring your own wine to a restaurant.

Source: Manitoba Liquor Control Commission

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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