Island restaurants set for take-out booze orders

Dave Stewart
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Liquor commission makes changes to Liquor Control Act allowing establishments to sell P.E.I.-made alcohol to people who also order a meal

Changes to the Liquor Control Act will allow people who eat at restaurants to purchase locally-made wine, spirits or beer to take home.

The P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission is hoping to create a buzz about Island-made alcohol.

It recently made changes to the Liquor Control Act to allow people who eat at restaurants to purchase locally-made booze.

The catch is, people must eat a full meal at the restaurant in order to place a take-out order for a bottle of wine, spirits or beer. Finger foods don’t count.

“It’s still a very young industry here on P.E.I.,’’ said Jamie MacLeod, director of corporate services with the liquor commission, referring to those on P.E.I. who manufacture alcohol. “The commission was looking at ways to hopefully support local manufacturers.’’

The commission also had tourists in mind when it made the change.

“Tourists are in having a meal and happen to buy an Island product. There is an opportunity for them right there on the spot to hopefully purchase the product and take it home with them and pass the good word around.’’

Restaurants will require a special licence from the commission. Of the 485 licences across the province, between 200 and 225 will be eligible to apply for the special licence.

MacLeod said a similar, but not identical, licence is available in about five other provinces or territories but the rules are more relaxed elsewhere. In Alberta, for example, there is no restriction on what can be purchased in terms of the type of product or amount.

The restrictions on P.E.I. are — a maximum of two 750-ml bottles of wine, two 750-ml bottles of spirits and the equivalent of up to 12 355-ml cans/bottles of beer.

Sales on P.E.I. are also restricted to 9 a.m. to midnight.

Other provinces also don’t require patrons to eat before they purchase take-out alcohol.

“We added the social responsibility element that there has to be a sit-down meal. It can’t be finger food. It has to be a legitimate meal from a menu that we would approve of.’’

Liam Dolan, who owns three restaurants in Charlottetown and was recently elected chairman of the board of Restaurants Canada, gives the move a thumbs-up.

“I think it’s great for the manufacturer, for the little wineries and the little breweries,’’ Dolan said. “Is anybody going to sell a whole lot of it? I don’t think so but I think it’s a great convenience for tourists coming in.’’

Organizations: P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission, Restaurants Canada

Geographic location: P.E.I., Iceland, Alberta Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • bootlegger
    March 15, 2014 - 07:03

    close me down and replace me with a rich man --that's normal for CANADA

  • Regular Joe
    Regular Joe
    March 14, 2014 - 17:16

    Nothing wrong with the idea it self just the layout . To restrict it to only locally produced items is playing favorites and giving a huge advantage to the local brewers . What if they want Domestic instead of local and can't have it . I would love to hear the logic in that argument .

  • Morally Challenged
    March 14, 2014 - 16:30

    To take it a step further, why not lower the drinking age but only for those who will swear an oath to consume only locally-made booze? These addiction-related taxes are the bread and butter plus the local producers are smiling at the handout.

  • kim
    March 14, 2014 - 15:51

    BOOZE is KING and so is GHIZ Hail to the rich and damned be the poor, who just want to be able to buy a can of alcohol free beer at a reasonable price in the grocery store. No, no we will not allow you to do that, says the King, - we want to peddle alcohol, we want drunks on the road, - so you go to New Brunswick to get your beer, we don't want the taxes from it either. Brilliant, ain't it? Visitors are dumbfounded at such stupidity.

  • kim
    March 14, 2014 - 15:44

    BOOZE is KING, and so is GHIZ. let the wine flow, - but keep people from getting non alcoholic canned beer in the stores at a price they can afford., - Hail to the rick, and damped be the poor, that just a harmless can of non alcoholic beer with their pizza supper at home, - who do they think they are, - the poor, - let them drink water .

    • huh
      March 14, 2014 - 17:42

      You could always get a bottle of non-alcoholic beer.

  • peter
    March 14, 2014 - 15:37

    An other brilliant Ghiz initiative, -- dreamed up by who else, but major supporters of the liberals, - a gift in an other form from the liberal party to the major restaurant owner on PEI, --- a job creation project as more police will be needed to check out all the ins and the outs of this piece of nonsense.

    March 14, 2014 - 12:42

    The only ones to benefit from this is the Murphy Group of Restaurants. If you truly wanted tourists to benefit, let them buy the stuff they normally buy, not the crap you are trying to push for the Murphy Group. This is so blatantlt wrong on all levels. You may want to call it "Murphy's Law". Now that you closed all the bootleggers in Town, you now allow your friends to bootleg legally. Way to go Liberals.

  • what are you people on?
    March 14, 2014 - 12:00

    Why is every one so biased about this? How do you figure it will lead to more impaired drivers? Last time I checked you have to drive to the liquor store to buy booze..this is no different, it's not going to be the end of the world, now patrons have the option to buy some alcohol to take doesn't mean they are going to drink it along the way.

  • Walter Zarins
    March 14, 2014 - 11:52

    This is an excellent idea and long overdue. I also like how it focuses strictly on island-made wine, spirits and beer. I can see this expanding to include sauces, preserves, etc. If you want to promote the island and tourism you have to think outside the box. And the sooner the government realizes that if they lowered taxes on a wide variety of items, including alcohol, they could actually be on the winning side of things. Folks need a reason to burn gas and cross the bridge or take the ferry. Cheaper goods would be just such an attraction. Well done nevertheless.

    • From the West
      March 14, 2014 - 20:47

      Are you kidding ! Why not set a lower price and sell onlyPEI lobster..Get a life.

  • mark
    March 14, 2014 - 11:02

    If you are going to do "off sales", which what this is, everything should be sold not just local products(Mr. Murphy). Get rid of that meal clause, it is absolutely ridiculous. My thoughts are is that this was pushed through without thinking, sounds like a backroom deal to me.

  • NO WAY !
    March 14, 2014 - 09:03

    Doesn't P.E.I have enough impaired drivers. My opinion is that this is not necessary, but who cares what I believe.

    • huh
      March 14, 2014 - 13:39

      What's this got to do with impaired drivers? If you think this will automatically increase DUIs you must also believe in prohibition then?

  • Maritimer
    March 14, 2014 - 08:54

    This a form of protection for Murphy's beer.I can see why the Government is doing this as they try to get our investment returned.This might be against the fair trade practices as the restaurants should be allowed to sell any product they currrently serve. Just a thought , the Guardian should drill down to see if other provinces use this discriminating method. I am sure the big brewers willnot like this as they have employees on PEI and make hugh financial donations to the Liberal Party and QEHand others. Government might want to change this before they lose these donations.

  • rick
    March 14, 2014 - 08:48

    I am delighted that the Commission found time to deal with this. Now they are pushing alcohol our to door unto the sidewalks and roads. Upon inquiry, however, about why canned NON-alcoholic beer was not available in the grocery stores on the Island, it was for lack time to deal with legislation required to allow this. So the Gov. continues to be deprive Islanders and visitors the freedom to choose a NON- alcoholic beverage at a reasonable price and convenience in a grocery store, while power drinks are readily available, - and non wine to go---- from the restaurants. What hypocrites, - - . It will be a relief to see this dictatorship come to an end with the next election

    • Absurd
      March 14, 2014 - 11:56

      What are you talking about? Talk about an irrational rant. You have roughly 500 different non-alcoholic options at the supermarket and convenience stores. What is your point? It's sad the uninformed people have so much say in the decision making around alcohol.

  • alice
    March 14, 2014 - 08:29

    Maybe it could behoove the LCM to allow canned non-alcohol beer to be sold in grocery stores, as is done in the rest of the world. Apparently the Gov. is more interested in getting alcohol on the road, than helping the average person enjoying a non-alcoholic beverage of no danger to the public at a reasonable price and quality. Obviously the gov. found 'time' to deal with this, where as the excuse for refusing Islanders canned non alcohol beer in the grocery stores, was they had more important things to do than deal with this unreasonable unfairness to Islanders. Pushing alcohol on people is apparently more important than selling Non-alcoholic beer. Every other province in Canada allows this, - but not in the dictatorship of PEI. One more reason for my vote in the next election,- small as it may appear, but it is principle of freedom to choose and enjoy a NON- alcoholic beverage..

  • unbelieveable
    March 14, 2014 - 07:43

    For a Province who claims they have a serious problem with drinking and driving, to pass legislation like this, is the biggest bonehead decision I have ever seen. This is going to do nothing but encourage open liquor in motor vehicles and drinking and driving. I can't believe they did this!! I'm disguisted.

    • Regular Joe
      Regular Joe
      March 14, 2014 - 17:22

      Wait for it as there will be lots of changes like this coming soon . They have to make up that 25 million shortfall in the budget some how .

  • It is a start
    March 14, 2014 - 07:32

    However a smarter approach would be to have the 'open liquor' law. And before people rant and rave about this - check it out. It might mean fewer people would drink and drive.

  • Dumb or Dumbest
    March 14, 2014 - 07:23

    “We added the social responsibility element that there has to be a sit-down meal. It can’t be finger food. It has to be a legitimate meal from a menu that we would approve of.’’ That has to be one of the stupidest quotes I have ever read. What is socially responsible about forcing people to eat a meal before they can purchase alcohol? If it is so socially responsible then why don't you have to sit down and eat at the LCC stores?

  • dine and dash
    March 13, 2014 - 21:57

    well if its great for the tourists and Wes gets his hst then by all means...serve it up!