Bar owners cheer booze discount

The Yukon government announced in late January that bars, restaurants and off-sales agents will see about a 10 per cent discount on their purchases from the Yukon Liquor Corporation.

Yukon bar owners are thrilled that new wholesale alcohol prices will come into effect this week.

The Yukon government announced in late January that bars, restaurants and off-sales agents will see about a 10 per cent discount on their purchases from the Yukon Liquor Corporation.

Before today, liquor licence holders paid the same price listed at the territorial liquor stores.

“It’s amazing. It’s great,” said Patrick Singh, owner of Paddy’s Place in Whitehorse.

Customers shouldn’t necessarily expect to see those savings passed on to them, though, he said.

“I think a lot of the bars already offer pretty good prices and I know that we’re already planning to lower our prices, for the afternoons and the daytimes,” said Singh.

“I don’t think prices are going to get any cheaper in terms of what the pricing is going to be on booze, but I do think that our customers can look forward to having an even better experience when they come here in terms of the environment. We will reinvest that money into things like better sound equipment or better tables and chairs, just little things to improve the experience of coming to the bar.”

The bar will continue to focus on promoting great live music in a cool atmosphere, he said.

“In my opinion, having a really interesting environment and having interesting happenings and events is what’s going to bring more people back to the bar culture.”

The change was recommended by the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, and was one of several suggestions related to the modernization of the territory’s liquor laws.

In B.C. wholesale discounts for alcohol range from 12 to 30 per cent off the retail price, said chamber president Peter Turner at last month’s news conference.

The new prices are expected to cost the liquor corporation $1.6 million in lost revenue annually.

Craig Graham-Biggers, owner of the Sternwheeler Saloon, is applauding the new prices, too.

“All I can say is it’s about time,” he said.

He will consider lowering retail prices for customers, but is waiting to see if the savings come through as promised first, he said.

“I don’t trust the government.”

Stephen Kwok owns the Riverdale Neighbourhood Pub and offsales.

He too said it’s too early to say if savings will be passed on to customers.

“I think we have to wait and see. Because 10 per cent sounds like not a lot, but maybe it’s a lot, and it all depends. When in the business something goes down, another thing goes up.”

He’ll be talking with other bar owners around town to see how they are going to respond to the change, he said.

“We really don’t want to start a price war.”

There have been delays in the program’s implementation that mean the licence holders won’t see any savings until next month at the earliest, said Kwok.

The liquor corporation is not yet set up to process the discount, and has promised to issue a refund on the savings that should have accrued on this month’s purchases in March, he said.

A spokesperson for the liquor corporation did not respond to a request to have this information confirmed by press time.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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