KELOWNA – Central Okanagan MLAs Steve Thomson, Ben Stewart, and Norm Letnick are welcoming changes to the government’s craft distillery policies. The new changes, a response to consultations with the industry, could potentially benefit local craft distillers and boost the sector right across the province, including Okanagan Spirits Inc., and Urban Distilleries Inc.

Under the new rules, qualifying craft distilleries will be eligible to have full mark-up exemption on direct sales to licensed establishments and consumers. Distillers in B.C. are also now able to produce up to 50,000 litres of finished product and remain in the craft distillery category.

In order to qualify as a craft distiller and to help the province’s agricultural sector, their products will have to contain 100 per cent B.C. raw agriculture materials and be distilled by a licensed B.C. distillery.

Quotes:

“The Central Okanagan is well known for our excellent wine. But we are also lucky enough to have some excellent distilleries operating in our region as well. Changes in our government’s craft distillery policies will increase the competitiveness of this industry and help agriculture in our region.”

–         Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson

“My family and I have been in the farming and winery industries in the Central Okanagan for over a century. I know first-hand how policy changes can help support a burgeoning industry. I’m glad to see our government consult directly with industry to identify how to support craft distilleries.”

–         Westside – Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart

Additional information:

  • There are 14 licensed distilleries in B.C.
  • Previous craft distillery policy limited annual production to below 25,000 litres and applied a reduced mark-up to direct sales to the public, restaurants, bars and private liquor stores.