The Alliance of Beverage Licensees
• Making Connections p6
• Not All Products Are Created Equal p12
• Increase your Followers p26
Quarterly Publication for the
Alliance of Beverage Licensees
2nd floor 948 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1N9
T 604-688-5560 F 604-688-8560
Toll free 1-800-663-4883
firstname.lastname@example.org www.ablebc.ca @ABLEBC
2015-2016 Board of Directors & ABLE BC Staff
Vice President Al Deacon
Treasurer & Director Steve Smith
Brady Beruschi, Michael Brown,
Patrick Greenfield, Trevor Kaatz,
Al McCreary, Danny Rickaby
Executive Director Jeff Guignard
Communications Danielle Leroux
The Publican Editorial Committee: Shannon Gavin,
Dave Lindsay, Chris Mahony, Marilyn Sanders
Designed, Produced & Published by:
19073 63 Avenue, Surrey BC V3S 8G7
Ph: 604-574-4577 1-800-667-0955
ABLE BC Editor Jeff Guignard
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8 Making Connections: Building a
Community Drives Business and Goodwill
12 Not All Products are Created Equal: Managing
Products to Increase Profitability
16 Profile - BX Creek Liquor Store
20 Buying Power
22 Creating Memorable Experiences
25 Maximize Purchasing on LTO
26 Increase your Followers: Develop Engaging
Social Media Campaigns
4 President’s Message
6 Executive Director’s Report
7 LRS & Hospitality Sales
7 Product Showcase
15 LDB Report
18 Wine Report
19 What's New?
21 Spotlight on Scotch
25 Names in the News
29 BCHF Update
30 ABLE BC Benefits
by Poma Dhaliwal
It has been a busy start to ABLE BC’s 2016-17
membership year and we’re proud to have you on
board. I want to thank all members who renewed
their ABLE BC membership and welcome our new
private liquor store, pub and associate members.
BC’s private liquor industry has recently experienced
some of the most significant policy changes in a
generation. As a private liquor store or pub owner
or manager, you know firsthand the business
implications of these liquor policy changes. Now
more than ever, it is vital that we work together
to build a future to protect our investments and
2016 Annual General Meeting
On October 30th, ABLE BC will host our 2016
Annual General Meeting where we officially elect
our new Board of Directors. We hope you can join
us. It is my great honour to serve my final term as
your president of the Alliance. For the full list of
our newly elected governance team, please visit
Inaugural BC Liquor Conference
This issue of The Publican hits stands in time for the
inaugural BC Liquor Conference on October 31st in
Vancouver. This one-day conference was created
to unite our various industry sectors as we focus
on finding common solutions to shared industry
challenges. I hope you take advantage of this
opportunity to meet other engaged and passionate
operators, learn from industry experts, and speak
with ABLE BC’s staff and board about how we can
help your business.
Expanding Business Opportunities for
Private Retailers and Pub Owners
Online Sales - In August, the Liquor Control Board
of Ontario launched an online site where customers
can purchase nearly 5,000 products. Purchases are
delivered to a local LCBO store for free or shipped to
a customer’s home through Canada Post for a fee. In
September, New Brunswick Liquor announced they
will be offering online ordering and home delivery
by the end of 2016 or early 2017.
BC government stores are also working on an
“online tool” to allow customers to place orders
for liquor products online. Currently private liquor
stores in BC are allowed to sell products online,
but few do as it is often difficult to be practical
or profitable about it under existing regulations.
ABLE BC is consulting with several private retailers
who have had success in online sales. If the LDB
moves forward with selling liquor online through
government stores, we will work to ensure private
liquor retailers have equal access to the online
market and that no preferential treatment is given
to government stores.
Bottle Service - The rules and regulations around
bottle service have never been properly established
at the provincial level in BC. Clients are currently
prohibited from buying bottles of liquor for their
tables. In order to properly recognize bottle service
in BC and align the regulations around it with other
major cities in Canada and the world, ABLE BC has
put forward a recommendation to government to
allow our liquor primary and nightclub members
to legally offer bottle service.
Join ABLE BC Today
Only by working together can we build a thriving
and sustainable private liquor industry. I hope you
will consider joining the Alliance if you are not
already a member. For more information about
ABLE BC, exclusive member benefits, our advocacy
work, and to sign-up for your membership, visit
If there is anything else we can do to help or if you
have any questions about liquor policy changes,
I hope you won’t hesitate to get in touch. You
can contact us any time at email@example.com or
4 The Publican
by Jeff Guignard
First off, thank you once again to all of you who
renewed your annual ABLE BC memberships this
past fall. I would also like to sincerely welcome our
new and returning members. Our Alliance is only
as strong as the size of our collective voice, and
having 1,000 liquor licensee members behind us
lends palpable strength, credibility, and weight to
our advocacy efforts with government and other
It is also immensely gratifying for our ABLE BC
team—those of us who represent you every
day—to know that you continue to see value in
the work we’re doing to protect your investments
and expand private sector opportunities. In the
days ahead, you can expect us to continue forging
ahead on issues such as licensee sales, recreational
cannabis sales, and improving in-stocks and fill
rates at the LDB.
Second, I would like to acknowledge that this
issue of The Publican comes out just in time for our
inaugural BC Liquor Conference, taking place at
the Four Seasons in Vancouver. I hope we’ll get a
chance to connect there. We believe strongly that
the BC Liquor Conference will offer our industry
a much-needed annual forum to share ideas and
best practices about how to drive profitability and
innovation in your businesses.
Ongoing Improvements to BC’s Liquor Policy
In addition to our regular advocacy efforts on
big picture industry issues, the ABLE BC team
keeps in regular contact with the Liquor Control
and Licensing Branch (LCLB) as they work to
improve existing liquor policies. Over the past
several months, we have offered feedback and
recommendations to the LCLB on several policy
• amendments to lease and zoning requirements
for LRS relocations, which will help increase
fairness and ensure the integrity of relocation
• permitting LP and FP applicants to have patios
without an interior licensed area for patrons;
• allowing multi-use buildings (e.g., community
centres) to use licensed space for non-alcohol
• potential streamlining of rules around minors
as employees in licensed premises;
• improving the Mandatory Social Responsibility
signage that licensees are required to display;
• recommending a new policy framework
around “inducements” to allow manufactures,
agents, retailers, and on-premise operators to
share legitimate marketing expenses to
promote products to consumers.
There remains much work to do, but I would like to
commend the LCLB policy team for the diligence
and openness to our industry’s constructive
feedback. If you would like to become involved in
our ongoing policy feedback to the LCLB, please
feel to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Purchasing Power for Private Retailers
By now, you’ve probably heard of our new online
purchasing portal for private retailers - buyABLE.
On page 20 of this issue, you can read all about
how some ABLE BC members are using this
platform to increase profitability and enhance their
competitive edge in the marketplace. Our goal is
to give you—BC’s private retailers—the group
buying power you need to compete in today’s
retail climate. If you haven’t signed up for buyABLE
yet, or would like to learn more, call our office at
any time at 604-688-5560.
A Year in Review
To learn more about what we’ve been up to on
your behalf over the past year, please visit our
new website, ablec.ca, and download our 2015-16
Annual Report and current Policy Priorities.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or
concerns you’d like to discuss, please don’t hesitate
to get in touch with me directly at email@example.com.
• increasing sample sizes and allowing operators
to charge for samples, which could help some
operators recoup costs of sampling high-end
6 The Publican
LRS & Hospitality
July 3 – September 3, 2016
Licensee Retail Stores
Net Sales Excluding General Merchandise
Net Sales $
Net Sales $
Net Sales Excluding General Merchandise
Made of 100% selected wheat
grain, five-times distilled and
passed through four stages
of filtration (including gold
membrane filter), this vodka is
exceptionally pure and soft.
Its superfine quality is
confirmed by a Kosher
Certificate and a number of
Gold awards including the
San Francisco World Spirits
Competition and the Chicago
Beverage Tasting Institute.
BRAVE LIVER SCOTCH ALE
Bronze Medal Winner for
Scotch Ale at the Canadian
Now available year-round.
A full-bodied strong ale also
known as a “Wee Heavy”.
Scottish Pale Ale malts are
artfully crafted to impart hints
of oak, Scotch and caramel.
Brave Liver Scotch Ale is best
served in a thistle glass at
10-13°C. Enjoy it with roasted
beef, lamb, game, smoked
salmon, aged cheeses,
toffee pudding or chocolate
22 IBU 6.5% ABV
POL REMY BRUT
Sparkling White Wine
New from France
New, fizzy value.
This new French fizz is
straightforward but at a very
attractive price. It is made
by the same company as
another value bubbly, Veuve
Expect attractive aromas of
tree fruits and citrus with
undertones of nuts, biscuits
The palate has a nice tangy
character with plenty of
citrus carved off with a
Please call us for backer
cards, neckers and shelf
Source: BC Liquor Distribution Branch
BUILDING A COMMUNITY DRIVES BUSINESS AND GOODWILL
by Joanne Sasvari
8 The Publican
Courtesy Mahony & Sons
You may think your business is simply selling wine, beer and spirits. It may
surprise you to realize that it’s actually about building a community, and then
selling wine, beer and spirits. Your community, after all, represents not just the
people who will buy your products, but everything your business stands for,
from its target audience to its charitable endeavours. It’s what makes you stand
out from the crowd.
“The competition in the hospitality business is just ferocious,” says Mike Mahony,
General Manager of Mahony and Sons’ UBC location, and Director of Corporate
Sponsorship and Marketing for all three locations of the pub. “I don’t think you
can really do wrong giving back and helping people.”
There are ways, though, to connect effectively, getting the most value for the
time and money you spend. As Leeann Froese, the Principal of marketing and
communications agency Town Hall Brands, says, “At the end of the day, we all
have the shared object of moving the bottles. Anything that gives value to the
customer without costing the retailer is a win-win.”
Step one is identifying who your community is, or should be.
“When it comes down to it, for pubs and liquor retailers, their community is the
community that is in their vicinity,” explains Froese. She recommends inviting
staff from neighbouring businesses into your establishment, offering them a
discount or a special deal, or even hosting an event for them. “There’s different
ways of connecting to your community and getting to know who they are.”
For Mahony, UBC offers a built-in community of campus sports teams, clubs and
fraternities. For some, he’ll offer sponsorship dollars and special discounts. For
others, he’ll donate swag like gift cards, hats, t-shirts and totes, and he keeps a
ready supply on hand in the hopes of building on those relationships. Mahony’s
team reviews the pub’s relationships each year to see if they’re working well
enough to continue. “It’s kind of like Air Miles for pubs,” he says with a laugh.
A bigger community for Mahony and Sons is sporting events across the city.
In that light, Mahony helped put together the UBC Grand Prix bike race and
is a major sponsor of events like the BMO Vancouver Marathon, KitsFest and
cross-country runs, hosting VIP areas and providing food and drink for some
events. “We really believe in a healthy lifestyle,” he says. “This is our backyard.
We like to play in it.”
Winning over Customers
Once you’ve identified your community, how do you get them in the door?
Just ask Froese.
Although she represents mainly wineries, she works closely with retailers to get
her clients’ bottles into customer’s hands. “Retailers are really important partners
for us,” she notes. She’ll send staff to a store, positioning them outside to call
people in, enticing them with balloons and signage, and then have more staff
inside pouring wine, leading tastings, offering giveaways, or organizing contests.
“It’s a one-on-one personal outreach,” she describes. “Once they get in the
store, it is the retailer’s big opportunity to entice them.” A smart retailer will get
those customers’ names into a database and invite them to events down the
road. “Then the customers will get to know each other and become a sort of
neighbourhood club,” she says.
Connecting with customers IRL (in real life) is key of course, but don’t neglect
your virtual options. Social media is a must for any business, but it’s not without
its challenges. “Some do it well, some do not do it well, and some do not do it
at all,” Froese says. She encourages everyone to get social, no matter how late
they are to the game. It’s an effective way not just to get people in the door, but
to retain their business through loyalty programs.
However, for social media to be effective, it has to be carefully targeted. Facebook,
with its geo-targeted ads, is especially good for reaching customers near a
usiness to assign a staff person to post multiple times a day, or to pay for
Most importantly, social media has to be, as the name suggests, social. “We try
promoting all our partners as much as they are supporting us,” Mahony says.
“We’re always piggy-backing on each other.”
Katie O’Kell and Judy Kingston of Serendipty
Anything that gives value to the
customer without costing the retailer is
business. In addition, social media has to be authentic because consumers–
especially young consumers–are quickly turned off by what they see as cynical
shilling. Social media also takes time, and it may not make sense for a small
Give and You Shall Receive
It may seem counter-intuitive to make money by giving it away, but philanthropic
engagement is a good way to connect with your community in a truly
meaningful−and ultimately profitable−way. Holding a fundraising event for an
organization like the BC Hospitality Foundation, for instance, not only supports
a worthy cause, but brings in business, and often repeat business.
“There’s immeasurable benefit, intangible benefit, to building your community,”
Froese says. “It’s goodwill.”
Adds Mahony: “Building relationships with people in the community creates
long-term benefits.” Besides, he says, “People are going to choose to support
It’s a two-way street. We hope when people are going out, they’re going to bring
friends and family into our place.”
He admits it can be hard for a small business to see a direct dollars-and-cents
benefit from sponsoring sports teams or charities. “But it’s really seeing the small
groups of people who keep coming over the years,” he says.
He advises anyone just beginning to build their own community to start small,
and maybe consider volunteering before spending any money−it’s free and it’s
a good way of building relationships.
And then, Froese says, “If you are good to your community, and they love you and
come back to you, it will result in increased sales because you’ve built that loyalty.”
10 The Publican
NOT ALL PRODUCTS ARE CREATED EQUAL
MANAGING PRODUCTS TO INCREASE PROFITABILITY
article & photos by Stacy Mueller
12 The Publican
Courtesy of Darby’s Pub.
Category management is based on the premise that not all products are created
equal. The goal is to increase revenue by optimizing how you inventory and
display product. Category management is a relatively new retail tool having
been introduced to grocery stores in the 1980s. According to Nielsen’s Consumer
Insights, “Category management is a process that involves managing product
categories as business units and customizing them to satisfy customer needs.”
Since its introduction, MBA, BA, diploma and certified educational programs
have emerged in this field, leading to specialized careers and businesses solely
devoted to the art of category management. It is critical to maintaining relevant
products and increasing profitability in liquor stores.
Courtesy of Paddlewheeler Pub
Consider the following:
• Product placement – Where in the store and where on the shelf should
the product be placed and how many spaces does it need for proper
• Seasonal listings – Get it in and get it out!
• Market trends – Who is buying what right now, and for how much?
• Local flavour – Who is your target audience and what do they want?
• Regular customers – They may not buy top-selling products, but they are
consistent and loyal… as long as you don’t disappoint them.
• New & delisted products – What’s new, and who wants it? What’s not
selling, or is no longer available?
• Promotional offers – Look for limited time offers, limited availability, value
adds, special and/or one-time buys.
• Programming and displays – Savings, prizes, etc. are often based on
targeted sales numbers.
Focused category management will
result in increased sales.
• Promotional and display sales – How much sold?
• Product sales anomalies – Were there any special conditions or event
sales to consider?
• Percentage of sales per group and category – Where is there room for
growth? Where can targeted delisting take place?
Focused category management will result in increased sales and market
share, improved purchasing opportunities, and decreased stock-outs, thereby
improving your return on investment. You will also maximize shelf space and
better understand product performance.
Liquor store chains typically have a dedicated category manager and/or
team. However, in most (non-chain) liquor stores, managers, GMs and owner
operators wear multiple hats, including category manager. Luckily, you can
rely on your product representatives (reps) for valuable assistance. Reps are a
wealth of knowledge and have special tools to assist you. When collaborating
with reps, select ones you trust to have your location’s best interest in mind.
Even when collaborating with a trusted partner, be sure to review data, ask
questions, provide input, and approve plan-o-grams and shelf-set plans. Also
ensure you organize and implement action items.
Good category management resists biases towards a particular supplier’s
products and targets strategies that have a positive impact on the category
as a whole, while offering the best product experience to the customer.
Data, Data and More Data
Good information leads to good decisions. A good POS system should offer
multiple ways of compiling, organizing, and manipulating the most important
product and sales data needed for category management. This data includes:
• Product volume and sales – Note top sellers and bottom sellers.
• Seasonal products – How much sold?
BWI - Your One Stop Shop
for Liquor Store and
While this data alone will help create a foundation for category management,
Courtesy of Paddlewheeler Pub
adding additional data from your reps will serve to make it even more powerful.
Request information on market trends, regional and local product sales, new or
delisted products as well as impending LTOs, LTAs and special promotions. Reps
can also assist you in conducting a gap analysis to develop a better process.
Combining this data offers an overall view of product, direction, and
T-shirt, paper, and all custom bags
Easy peel, and card stock labels
Wine/beer boxes w/free labels
Custom shelving, labels, and tags
Create a solid foundation for data gathering and product management in the
backend of your POS.
1. Define product groups - beer, wine, spirits, coolers and ciders, tobacco,
food, etc. A group houses one or more categories.
2. Define Categories - craft beer, VQA wines, vodka, etc. Categories house an
assortment of product. Product is categorized on the basis of similarities in
consumer tastes and preferences.
3. Sub-Categories - varietals, singles, seasonal, size, etc. Sub-Categories are
optional and break product down into further categories.
Groups and categories vary from store to store. They typically coincide with
the store’s retail model or theme. Strategically, groups, categories and subcategories
(if used) allow for maximum flexibility when compiling the necessary
data needed for good category management. Too few categories limit the
range and sample size of data. Too many create thin or watered down data.
While collaborating with reps on larger projects will save much time and effort,
a basic plan should be part of regular operations. Because liquor stores rely
heavily on seasonal products, a quarterly plan works well. Ideally, Q1 planning
leads into Q2 execution.
Reusable promo tags
Starbursts in 13 colours
with free templates
Seasonal & everyday gift bags
Re-usable plastic origin flags
Analyze top-selling product data, by category, to determine your target
product(s) for programming. Any time you can program around top-selling
products, do it. Ensure the product has adequate representation on the sales
floor. This will save time stocking shelves. Consider bridge buying on LTOs if
you have the budget and storage capacity.
Review bottom-selling product data, by category, to help determine which
products to delist. These products are not suited for programming. If it doesn’t
sell, don’t build a promotion around it.
Group and/or category percentage of sales figures show whether the category
is growing or contracting. If coolers and ciders represent 4 per cent of sales,
and the category is well represented, cutting product listings in coolers and
ciders and adding product to a better performing category could potentially
be a better investment.
POS /debit rolls, ink & toner
Reduced & sale signs with shelf clips
Call for your FREE sample pack of our products.
Langley, BC 604-532-0500
The category management process is fluid, repetitive, strategic and a longterm
philosophy. It can be challenging, but the rewards are high. It keeps you
connected with customers, develops and reinforces your brands, helps manage
spending, optimizes product placement, grows sales, and provides a decisive
edge in a competitive marketplace.
Stacy Mueller is a liquor retail consultant and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.liquidprofit.ca
for information on her services.
14 The Publican
by Todd Cooper
Welcome to our New Digital Footprint
The Wholesale Operations division is excited to introduce our new Wholesale
Operations website and our product catalogue specifically designed for
Our new website www.wholesale.bcldb.com offers private retailers, hospitality
customers, and our vendors a modern, digital experience and serves as a gateway
to our online ordering website (LDB Web Store), our new hospitality product
catalogue, and our wholesale pricing and vendor websites.
Our focus with the design of the new website was simple; we wanted to offer
an improved user experience and increase the delivery of timely and valuable
information and resources. In addition to our new website and hospitality
catalogue, we are working to upgrade our LDB Web Store with a target
completion date of fall 2017.
Below are some of the ways the information and resources found on our new
website www.wholesale.bcldb.com can help you do business with the LDB.
Page Posted Information How to Use the Information
& Web Store
Product updates, top-selling
products, a list of packaged
beer available from the
LDB distribution centres,
and resources specifically
designed for WCC
Important updates from
the Wholesale Operations
division and the LDB
corporate head offices are
posted to the news page.
• Web Store
• Hospitality Product Catalogue
• Wholesale Pricing Website
• Vendor Website for Agents
• LDB Corporate Website
• Wholesale Customer Centre
• BC Liquor Stores Retail
Contact various departments
inside Wholesale Operations
and send in a registration for
Download the weekly product updates and check
out the top- selling reports posted quarterly. Grab
a copy of the packaged beer stocked in our
distribution centre, so your location is aware of
the beer available to order from the Wholesale
Customer Centre (WCC).
Also, right now, we’ve posted our streamlined
WCC Customer Application/Change Form where
new customers can register to begin ordering
from the WCC and existing customers can update
their contact information and shipping address.
Visit the news page frequently for general
announcements, public product recalls and
download new/improved Wholesale Customer
Centre forms and resources designed for your
Use our convenient jump off points to get where
you need to go quickly.
Our online ordering website and hospitality
catalogue are popular links–find them in the quick
links section on the bottom runner of our site.
Alternatively, click on your customer type directly
on our home page.
Send us a message instantly by using our new
contact us form or send in your Web Store
registration without using email.
The catalogue was designed for hospitality customers (restaurants, pubs and
clubs) that purchase from the Wholesale Customer Centre and BC Liquor Stores.
It supports hospitality customers with a searchable product database alongside
the current retail price for all products available to a hospitality licence type.
Features of the new hospitality catalogue:
• SKU and full product name;
• Current retail price, the promotional amount and the final retail price;
• Ability to save to a favourites list;
• Agent name representing the product is shown for each product;
• Search results can be expanded to show case configuration, UPC and alcohol
• Results can be sorted by column and can be exported to CSV.
Hospitality customers can use the catalogue to plan their buying strategy,
discover what products are available to fill their bar menu, build a favourites
list, export search results to CSV, and analyze product attributes by comparing
downloaded search results to the previous month. In addition, since the agent’s
name is shown, hospitality customers can contact the agent for product
information and ask about the agent’s warehouse inventory as applicable.
The catalogue does not show land-based winery products that are delivered
directly to hospitality locations, customer specific products, products that are
pending and not yet for sale, products that are not available for purchase by
hospitality customers, and products that are not active.
How to Access the Hospitality Product Catalogue
Hospitality customers can access the catalogue by contacting the Wholesale
Customer Centre (WCC) for licence verification. After authentication by the
WCC, hospitality customers will receive a link to set up their account. After the
account is set up, customers can manage their own account credentials and
add users from their organization.
How to Get Started
1. Please contact our LDB Wholesale Customer Centre (WCC) in Vancouver at
604-775-0681 or toll-free at 1-888-775-0681 and have your licence number,
establishment name, establishment address, and PST number ready.
2. Once you have submitted your information to the WCC, you will be sent a
link to your LDB account by email.
3. Click on the link, change your password, and answer the security questions.
4. Once the step above is complete, you can log into the catalogue by clicking
on the hospitality section on the home page.
Check us out at www.wholesale.bcldb.com and take a tour of the site, save it to
your favourites, and visit frequently for updates. We look forward to supporting
our customers with an increased flow of information to help your business
continue to be successful.
Todd Cooper is Executive Director, Wholesale Operations for LDB.
BX Creek Liquor Store
by Alex Van Tol
How does a little liquor store carve out a niche for
itself when there’s an LRS on nearly every corner of
its small town? How does it not only carve out that
niche, but double its top-line revenue over the span
of just a couple of years?
Location, renovation, and a commitment to
developing solid relationships with customers and
suppliers, that’s how.
The first thing that sets BX Creek Liquor Store apart
is its location in the Vernon Lodge and Conference
Centre. The unique location allows the store to serve
a built-in clientele as well as the local community.
The previous owners initiated a renovation several
years back that took the store from a dingy little
convenience store with a limited product line
to a clean, well-stocked shop that specializes in
Okanagan VQA wines. With the renovation, the
store was able to incorporate a walk-in cooler that
doubled its retail space, which allowed them to
showcase much more product. “Our revenue has
gone up because our customer base is growing,”
says management. “Renovating helped, because
now we have a ton of product. The more product
we have, the more people will come.” A wine island
in the middle of the store provides a special feature
area for local wines.
Previous to the renovations, customers had no
real reason to shop in the liquor store unless they
wanted a bottle of cheap plonk. As the renovation
got underway, the hotel’s management team
reached out to experts in the wine industry to rejig
their collection so that now the focus is on good
wines in the $18-$56 range and better. “It gained
us a brand new clientele,” they say. “They come in
knowing we’ll have a good bottle of VQA Okanagan
wine. Who doesn’t want to impress someone from
out of town with a good local wine?” Along with
a variety of wine offerings, the store creates gift
bottles and baskets for Christmas, which have
proven popular with customers.
16 The Publican
Location, renovation, and a commitment to developing
solid relationships with customers and suppliers.
Liquor store staff takes it upon themselves to stay
educated about what’s out there, bringing in what their
customers are asking for. Visiting food and beverage
events, wine shows, and beer expos are part of the
Their commitment to stocking the store with the best
possible product is also a result of their commitment
to sustaining positive, productive relationships with BX
Creek’s suppliers. This results in being included in new
promotions, and being top-of-mind when suppliers are
looking to market new products.
A small town of only about 40,000 people, Vernon is
serviced by 15 private liquor stores, so being competitive
is key. This involves weekly cost-comparisons with other
liquor stores in the area, as well as ensuring that their
prices are always within a dollar of their competition.
There’s also plenty of parking on the 2-acre property. It’s
a short walk to the front door, and it’s a quick drive from
anywhere in town, making it easy for customers to stop in.
The customers who stop in are well known to store staff.
There’s always someone available to help shoppers as
soon as they walk through the door, which sets BX Creek
apart from the superstores. “I don’t expect my staff to
know everything, but I expect them to treat everyone
who walks through the door with respect, whether
they’re buying a single can of beer or they’re spending
$200,” says management. “The customer is key. I want
everyone to feel like they’re going to come back.”
by Dr. Clinton Lee
Demystifying the Wine and Spirits
Wine and spirits professionals, whether they’re
in wineries, distilleries, agencies, retail stores,
restaurants or pubs feel the pressure for excellence.
Competition is fierce and demanding, so education
is critical for people entering the industry. With
many options available, staff question which wine
and spirits course they should take.
The Wine Spirit and Education Trust (WSET) is a UKbased
wine qualification that is highly recognizable.
There are four levels and after completing the final
level the student receives a diploma. A number
of schools offer this program and the duration for
the entire program can take up to four years of
study, although levels 1 and 2 are relatively short.
The emphasis of the WSET program is more on the
business of wine and the different sectors pertaining
to it. It has the versatility to be of value to the
importing, exporting, agency, and hospitality sectors.
The International Sommeliers Guild (ISG), as the
name suggests, has a sharper focus on the service
aspect of the wine industry. This program has
several levels as well. Many of Vancouver’s finest
restaurant professionals have the ISG qualification.
This course is as equally challenging as the WSET,
however, there is a more practical aspect to this
There are a plethora of shorter wine courses. The
former French Wine Scholar (FWS) program is now
part of the Wine Scholar Guild (WSG). The FWS
course offers deep insight into the French world
of wine. The WSG is an organization that has been
created recently and courses have been expanded
to include Italy and Spain. These courses are shorter
in terms of study time.
The North American Sommelier course, the “Italian
Specialist”, is another short course. It is held less
regularly and is considered to be a challenging
Other international wine education programs like
the International Sherry Educator program require
that the person apply and then the individual will
be advised if she is accepted into the program.
Specialist courses in Sake are offered by two WSET
approved schools in Vancouver, and given the
hugely popular Japanese cuisine following in the
Lower Mainland, it is proving to be popular. This
is a high-level course and it’s demanding. A local
Vancouver wine school offers its own self-created
Canadian Wine Scholar program. It also has its own
independent Sommelier program and French wine
The Society of Wine Educators from the US offers
the Specialist in Wine course culminating in the
Certified Wine Educator program. The program is a
self-paced online course and exams are booked at
specifically designated examination centres. They
are self-paced programs. The Society also offers the
Specialist in Spirits course, which targets all types of
spirits and details the production method.
WSET also has a Spirits program specifically aimed
for spirit lovers. The program offers a strong
foundation in this area. WSET has been gradually
reducing the spirits section in their programs, so
this specific spirits course is a solution to fill the gap.
“The Whisky Ambassador” is an internationally
recognized certified qualification from Scotland and
the UK. The program is for industry professionals
and also aficionados, and offers a firm foundation
on the history, origins, production and geographical
aspects of whisky.
Certification based on the Quini universal wine
tasting standard is now gaining firm support with
wine and spirit professionals. The standard focuses
primarily on restaurants, hotels and retail stores.
Quini has an alliance with the Asia Pacific Wine
and Spirit Institute (APWASI). APWASI online wine
and spirit programs, which will begin in 2017, are
developed by wine professionals and university
academics and will offer a broad range of programs
from country specific to specialized wine categories.
Ultimately, education reigns supreme. Deciding
which course to take depends on the area of
expertise someone wants to develop. Other
considerations are time, cost, and the recognition
of the program. My personal philosophy is that
education is an investment and never a wasted
Dr. Lee is an international wine lecturer, international wine judge, wine writer
and critic who has delivered lectures to a wide body of audiences ranging
from professional bodies to wine aficionados.
18 The Publican
by Rita Alterio
Bitterhouse aperitifs are craft made in BC with a blend of select herbs,
bittersweet fruit, and natural cane sugar. LaDame bittersweet orange
750ml $19.96 whls +556951 Rubato bittersweet rhubarb 750ml $19.96
whls +523159 Daman bittersweet grapefruit 750ml $19.96 whsl
Jim Beam Apple is premium apple liqueur with bourbon, offering a
smooth and juicy taste without being overpowering. 750ml $23.99 whsl
Hakutsuru Sparkling Sake offers gentle fruit and rice sweetness with a
crisp clean finish. 300ml $6.81 whsl +450585
Kvint XO 8 year old brandy is a Moldavian brandy with a rich golden
amber colour with velvety aromas of toffee, dried apricots and dates,
tobacco, smoke and ginger. The palate is supple and plush with
impressive concentration and weight. Winner of Best Brandy in Show
at 2015 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition. 500ml $22.98 whsl
Central City Brewing is offering Central City Sour No. 2 - Belgian-style
Kriek, a red ale infused with cherries, which has been aging for 2 years in
Cabernet Sauvignon and French oak barrels. Big bodied with a balance
of earthy oak tones and cherry notes that give a lightly sweet and sour
experience. 750ml $14.95 whsl +168464
Kloud beer is premium quality lager beer with rich foam. Feel the richness
of real beer with 100% wort and no water added by a German original
gravity technique. 100% malt beer brewed with carefully selected
premium hop and special yeast from Germany. 330ml x 6 pack $9.00 whsl
Okanagan Spring Brewery’s new Big White White IPA is a combination
of two distinct beer styles−American-style IPA and German wheat ale. A
refreshing twist on traditional winter flavours, this white IPA pours deep
golden with clove and spice aromas up front, finishing smooth with fresh
hop flavour and undertones of citrus and mild fruitiness. 6 x 341ml bottle
$9.97 whsl +646091, 30L keg $102.00 whsl +486175
Vodka Mudshake Toasted Gingerbread is a ready-to-drink cream
beverage with the taste of ginger and cinnamon. Enjoy it hot or cold. 4 x
270ml $9.80 whsl +889600
Castillo de Covanegra Reserva 2011 has been aged for five years with
careful use of oak, adding flavours of vanilla and sweet spices on the
palate, leading to a rich and smooth finish. 750ml $8.10 whsl +413674
Acolon Terra S is a harmonious dry wine. Spicy fruit flavours of wild
berries combine with soft, round tannins to create a balanced, powerful
red wine. 750ml $16.99 whsl +448233
William Hardy Limestone Coast Chardonnay 2016 has intense aromatics
of melon and white peach, combined with notes of spicy oak. The palate
is creamy and textured with delicate sweetness from oak complexity.
750ml $18.99 whsl +564419
Legende Bordeaux Blanc 2013 has an intense and elegant nose of
lime, grapefruit, passion fruit and mineral notes. A very pleasing and
voluptuous palate with a lively fresh finish and intense fruity aromas.
750ml $13.98 whsl +667436
San Antonio Sangiovese Rubicone IGT offers a fresh bouquet with
flower notes. Packed with soft red fruits yet robust enough to take on
dishes with a bit of heat and spice. 1 L $8.99 whsl +649426 Pinot Grigio 1
L $8.99 whsl +696237
La Jara Italian Rosé Frizzante is certified 100% organic by the
Environmental and Ethical Certification Institute. It offers fresh, fruity
notes of apples, pears and raspberries with crisp acidity, delicate bubbles
and soft, velvety mousse. 750ml $12.49 whsl +668194
Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2014 – Parolvini is a Cabernet Sauvignon
and Cabernet Franc blend, deep ruby in colour with an intense nose of
blackberry, currant and floral hints. Rich tannins provide a full flavour and
a medium to dry bodied intensity with a round and complete balance.
750ml $7.90 whsl +697953
Kvint Aligote Classic 2013 is a dry white wine from Moldova and offers
restrained golden fruit, plenty of lemony notes, acacia and honey with
a mineral core. The palate is tangy and fresh with good weight and racy
acidity. 750ml $10.73 whsl +795260
Giffard Toffee Nut Syrup is for mixing into hot and cozy beverages. With
caramel notes and nutty sweetness this adds another layer to any coffee.
Also for desserts, you can drizzle it over ice cream, or an apple galette.
Pop open your favourite brew and serve with the Brew Cup Opener. The
stainless steel beer cup features domestic and imported beer openers in
the base. Take beer from bottle to glass in one fell swoop with this durable
and classy stainless-steel beer cup. $10 www.amagrantventures.com
by Joanne Sasvari
The buyABLE program gives private liquor retailers
a competitive edge. So why aren’t you taking
advantage of it?
Selling beverage alcohol in a thirsty province like BC
is not difficult. However, making money at it can be.
That’s where buyABLE comes in. It’s a new online
purchasing portal from the Alliance of Beverage
Licensees (ABLE BC) that seeks to level the sales
playing field for private liquor stores. As Jeff
Guignard, Executive Director of ABLE BC, says,
“It’s giving real, collaborative power to the private
stores for the first time.”
Although buyABLE was only launched in January
2016, it is already making an impact for members
who’ve been using it. “I think buyABLE is the way
of the future for BC’s private liquor stores,” says
Michael Brown, owner of the Village Liquor Store
on Gabriola Island. “I'm routinely making 40 to 60
per cent margin on products I get through buyABLE,
making this one of my most profitable years yet.”
Adds Patrick Greenfield, owner of Queen’s Cross
Pub and Liquor Store in North Vancouver, “It gives
private retailers the group buying power we need
to compete against government stores and the new
grocery wine stores. I recently bought 60 cases of
wine through buyABLE and it is amazing value. Our
customers love the wine and it’s selling extremely
well with a great markup.”
The way the system works is that both retailers
and agents or manufacturers register online. The
agents get access to all registered private retailers
and the retailers can shop for their products, all
in one easy location. In addition, agents can see
who is buying what−whereas they usually have to
purchase that information from the LDB. buyABLE
allows agents to greatly reduce their marketing
costs, which in turn lowers the wholesale price for
retailers, allowing retailers to dramatically increase
This service is provided free for ABLE BC Associate
Members, who can post unlimited product listings.
Non-members are charged $25 per listing.
“buyABLE has the ability to unite the private stores,”
says David Zimmer, Director of Sales & Logistics at
Aaron Morgan Imports Ltd. “The stores can use
it as an important channel to generate sales and
awareness. The advantage to us is that it helps to
keep down the costs associated with selling our
products. We provide product and shelf talkers for
all in-store tastings but do not require a sales force
out on the road. Very simply put, our low expenses
and low agent markup make it possible for stores
to earn more money.” Instead of the typical 20-25
per cent agent markup of the wholesale product
prices, Aaron Morgan Imports employs a 5-10 per
cent markup. “With our unique approach, retail
store owners directly benefit from these savings
on quality wines that sell for considerably more
elsewhere,” continues Zimmer.
But for whatever reason, whether lack of awareness,
lack of time or simply the suspicion of something
new, many private stores aren’t yet taking
advantage of buyABLE, Guignard notes. It’s time
to change that mindset.
“One of the reasons for the slow uptake is it’s a
change from the traditional sales model,” Guignard
explains. “Our goal is to help manufacturers and
agents understand the price points and margins
that retailers need to be competitive.”
There’s plenty of opportunity for those who do opt into
buyABLE. Right now, BC’s 670 private liquor retailers,
about 350 of which are ABLE BC members, account for
39.9 per cent of all liquor sales (in litres) in the province.
Comparatively, there are just under 200 government
stores, but thanks in part to their centralized purchasing
power, they bring in 34.4 per cent of volume sales.
“The platform is really a buying program for all
private liquor stores,” Guignard says. “We're trying
to give private retailers the ability to coordinate
their purchasing power so they can better compete
against government stores.”
And it’s a service exclusively designed for ABLE
BC members. “No money exchanges hands on
the website,” Guignard adds. “ABLE BC does not
generate a penny from it. We are actually spending
money on it for our members.”
Another advantage is that with buyABLE, private
retailers can develop the kinds of exclusive products
the BC Liquor Stores offer. For instance, a brewery
could offer to produce a seasonal craft ale just for
private stores and list it on buyABLE, provided they
are guaranteed a certain number of sales at a set price.
Zimmer advises, “We predict that this is something
that will help LRSs a great deal. It’s one of the many
ways you can benefit from being an ABLE member.”
Members can access the buyABLE platform at
20 The Publican
Spotlight on Scotch
by David Wolowidnyk
Scotch is no longer reserved for old men in smoking jackets; it has increased
in popularity beyond prediction and has become the preferred spirit for many
people. Scotch brands now have to cope with meeting market demand when the
warehouses no longer have the depth of old barrels they used to have. Consumed
neat or on the rocks, cleverly being used in cocktails, and challenged by other
nations that are competing for market share with their own scotch-style spirits,
the game has now become quite interesting.
To be a Scotch whisky, it must be produced in Scotland from a mash of malted
barley and other cereal grains, and aged in oak casks in an approved warehouse
in Scotland for a minimum of three years. Although there are multiple categories
of Scotch, people are most often referring to “single malt”, considered to be a
premium spirit from one distillery, distilled by batch distillation in a pot still and
solely made with water and malted barley−no other grains.
If a spirit does not require maturation, it is relatively easy to meet market demand
by simply producing more spirit, yet if you produce a spirit, which you won’t be
selling for many years, it forces you to predict the future, sometimes ten to thirty
years in advance. I should clarify that age and maturation, although intertwined
are not synonymous. Much like people, spirit maturity is not necessarily based on
age, but is determined by chemical composition and environmental influence.
We have become accustomed to Scotch being labeled with age statements, 12-
year, 18-year, etc., which must always reflect the age of the youngest component.
Some producers have stopped placing an age statement on the bottle and
others are in transition to do so, because they no longer have the depth of old
barrels to maintain consistent flavour profiles. By removing the age, they can
draw from many more barrels in the warehouses to achieve what many people
want anyways−a consistent, reliable dram, hardly differing from one bottle to
the next. The Macallan was the pioneer of removing age statements, and they
are completely aware that some of their loyal fans disagree with the decision,
but let’s face it, they are protecting the consumer by keeping their products
affordable and consistent−the same way they built a loyal following.
The flavour diversity of single malt Scotch is staggering, especially when we
consider that it is simply made from water and malted barley in a pot still and
aged in an oak barrel. The diversity has been key in bringing new fans to the
category, because if you introduced a novice taster to incredibly peat-smoked
Islay malt, you may turn them off of Scotch forever. However, if you introduce
someone to Scotch by taking them through the sweeter, softer, gentle styles, you
may eventually get them to enjoy the most intense malts. Alternatively, a cocktail
can be the perfect vehicle to bring the unique flavour profiles of single malts
to more palates. It used to be sacrilege to ever mix with single malt, but a bold
Australian bartender named Sam Ross, who moved to New York, decided in 2005
that the world was ready for peaty Islay malt to be the feature spirit in his now
famous “Penicillin” cocktail. Combining the peat smoke with honey, lemon and
ginger, the cocktail became an almost instant classic and has opened the door
to single malts being used in cocktails far more often than they ever have before.
I think we can all agree that Scotch has dominated the whisky world for a long
time, and because of its influence, we now have many countries producing their
own single malts. Japan has been making single malts for over 100 years, and
more recently India, Taiwan, and Canada have gotten into the game. Thankfully,
the BC government has loosened the distillation laws, allowing more people to
make spirits. It’s exciting to see a bunch of malts now being produced on the
west coast. Although I feel that the new Canadian West Coast malts are a little
too new to compete on an international stage, I taste potential in these juvenile
drams and look forward to following their development. After all, there are areas
of the coast that have very similar climates to Scotland, we produce excellent
grains and have great water. All that we need is time.
by Chris McBeath
22 The Publican
Courtesy of Table Tap
"There is nothing which has yet been contrived by
man, by which so much happiness is produced as
by a good tavern or inn."
- Samuel Johnson
In Johnson’s time, a good brew dictated what
made a good tavern. These days, it’s a rather
more complicated business involving ambiance
and vibe, service and selection, a no-stone-leftunturned
approach to marketing, and an ability
to nurture your niche and your customer.
Tender Loving Customization
Patrons return for many reasons – value pricing,
music choice, and food to name a few, though
in all likelihood it’s how their experience is
personalized that encourages casual customers
to become regular patrons. From there on in, it’s
appreciation and TLC that will create and sustain
a lasting impression.
We really wanted to bring back the era
of the classic cocktail lounge.
Courtesy of The Belmont
Depending on who your target market is, a venue
must be conducive to building rapport. Not only
must staff be product savvy, they need to be
considerate and conscientious about customizing
guests’ visits. This may be as simple as addressing
them by name (nothing is more flattering), or
texting them when a particular new Chardonnay
has arrived because you know they are partial to
Customization is why creative cocktails are
popular and why table taps are becoming such a
hot item outside of BC. ‘Pour Your Own’ beer walls,
wine banks, and other self-serve technologies
not only reduce waste and increase sales, but
customers love the experience of being able to
try tasters before committing to a full glass, which
they can refill at leisure without waiting on servers.
“We believe there’s a huge market for ‘Pour your
Own’,” says Jeff Libby, founder of Table Tap, who
brought the concept to North America from
Argentina 10 years ago. “Because our built-in
software tracks consumption ounce by ounce,
it’s also a very responsible system,” Libby explains.
“Table tablets show patrons exactly how much
and which brand they are drinking, and when their
limit is reached, the tap turns off. Only a server
can reset the on switch.” Although a growing
phenomenon across the border, in Canada only
Ontario has approved do-it-yourself taps to date.
“It’s still a very new concept, and in the beginning,
there were many legal hurdles to overcome but
with installations from the Carolinas to California,
we know that it’s ready to take off,” notes Libby.
“And that includes Canada.”
Making Social Media Memories
When used properly, social media really supports
relationship building and helps demonstrate and
personalize customer appreciation. Consequently,
it’s important to use various platforms not simply
to make announcements, but to converse with,
and therefore grow, your client base.
For example, use Twitter to offer a discount or free
appetizers to ‘x’ number of customers who know
the password contained on the home page of
your website. Or, host a drink recipe contest on
Facebook, asking patrons to post their reviews,
and then name the winning cocktail after the
person who submitted it. Ideas that create online
commentary are what attract the sought-after
Millennials (18-34). This is the demographic
we really wanted to bring back the era of the classic cocktail lounge, but with a
modern spin,” says Kieran Baldwin, General Manager. “Our décor includes a plush
velvet wall, teal leather stools, and Turkish-style chandeliers that create a dynamic
atmosphere. Our cocktails include classics such as Tennessee Sours alongside
contemporary variations, and we showcase live entertainment every night. The
Belmont’s current incarnation is about celebrating its role in Vancouver’s historic
Memorable Incentives & Events
The Belmont's current incarnation is
about celebrating its role in Vancouver's
historic entertainment district.
that is constantly tapping into review sites and apps to find exciting bars and
destinations that offer an untraditional bar experience.
With this in mind, why not feature a celebrity bartender? Sports figure or actor,
community leader or local hero, guest bartenders are a great way to earn a
happening buzz across all advertising channels. Their Serving it Right certification
adds value to the promotion on many levels, whether it’s encouraging
responsible drinking or sharing the experience with friends and the media.
Millennials also gravitate to venues where social media games are part of the
experiential ambiance. These customers love to compete against each other for
fun prizes, playing the games from your TVs or table tablets, or downloading
mobile apps onto their own smartphones.
Even if games aren’t part of your mix, it’s hard to ignore Pokemon GO, the allthe-rage
augmented reality game that is especially geared to this high-spending
generation. Download the (free) app to check if there’s a PokeStop or Pokemon
Gym location near you and start marketing. Ideas include specialized signage
and discounts to players posting pictures on social media of the Pokemon GO
adventures inside your venue – if they tag you! Take a look at Lure Modules.
Operating within the app itself, lures are an inexpensive and surprisingly effective
way to tempt players into your venue.
The Heritage Hook
Courtesy of The Belmont
Whether it’s the historic Dewdney Pub housed in a former 1912 church, Victoria’s
Bard & Banker in a repurposed 1800’s bank building or the Island’s Six Mile Pub
(BC’s oldest tavern), many venues use history as their unique selling point,
polishing it up to create an old-world charm and cozy ambiance.
The Belmont on Vancouver’s Granville Street has done just that. Over its 100-
plus year history, the hotel has seen many incarnations with services that have
included a cigar stand, barber shop, a shoe shine service and in more recent
years, a basement bar and tapas lounge where a young Michael Bublé used to
practice his skills as an entertainer. “Because of the hotel’s history and location,
Regular promotions create a memorable atmosphere and although quizzes,
painting nights, and Punk Rock Bingo may sound passé, they still pull in the
crowds on slow nights. Other tried and true strategies include hosting a league
such as darts or billiards that can greatly incentivize players to return each week
so they can stay ahead in the rankings. With an entire league competing every
week for hours at a time, some operators have seen food and beverage revenues
climb by more than 50 per cent.
Loyalty programs can also be added to this mix. Everyone responds to a
‘something for free’ offer so promote your reward program on social media.
Then there are innovative ideas like those from Honest Brew in the UK. These
include hosting a pop-up ‘honesty bar’ night in pubs where customers pay for
craft brews on a donation-basis, contributing what they feel the beer is worth.
There are also treasure hunts, complete with maps and online clues that lead
participants to Honest Brew’s different beers in pubs across London. To further
promote their conversation with customers, all online orders receive a paper
bottle opener, the instructions for which are found on the company’s YouTube
page. Targeted? Yes. Engaging? Very. Memorable? Absolutely. And the results?
The business started with just seven breweries in January 2014 and today it has
more than 50. Honest Brew’s approach to selling may be unconventional, but
their success is undisputable. Perhaps a pop-up partnership could be in your
Creating Memorable Trails
Foodie trails are more than a passing fad. They are memorable ways of
exploring the countryside, and outlets along the way become an integral
part of a traveller’s experience.
• In England, where pub closures are endemic, pub crawls now mean
partnerships. By joining forces, pubs offer discounts to participants for
every first round purchased. In some instances, area pubs have grouped
together, whereby all but one close on certain nights of the week.
The open-night schedule rotates through the group with each venue
contributing to its promotion. Although counter intuitive, many found
it significantly improved their bottom line on quieter nights.
• The Florida Department of Citrus FDOC is one of several organizations
that have created a trail of bars and restaurants that serve up original
cocktails featuring farm-fresh Florida citrus and spirits from the St.
Augustine Distillery. Cocktail Trail passports feature eight outlets; when
all passport stamps have been collected, users can redeem it for a free
collectible Cocktail Trail t-shirt and branded, wooden coaster set.
24 The Publican
MAXIMIZE PURCHASING ON LTO
by Rebecca Hardin
BC retail stores have now been on a "level playing field" for over a year and
continue to find that they are going head-to-head with other private retailers,
grocers, and government stores. To combat the competition, retailers continue
to make large-scale purchases of SKUs on Limited Time Offer (LTO), to maximize
profits; however, many owners find themselves with overstocked stores and
sales falling flat, as the strategy is not being implemented properly. Here are
a few quick tips for bridge buying LTOs while maintaining a competitive edge
on pricing strategies, and ensuring that cash flow is not tied up in inventory for
lengthy periods of time.
Bridge Buying has been used for many years in the retail sector. Purchasers buy
products at a discounted rate, based upon sales forecasting for future periods. In
BC’s liquor industry, LTOs occur once a month when suppliers decide to reduce
the wholesale price for their products. The products purchased on LTO are then
sold in future months, at regular or slightly reduced pricing, during a period when
it is in high demand, thereby making a higher than normal profit margin when the
sale takes place. Its sounds easy enough, right? Here an example of how it works.
An Irish Cream liqueur goes on LTO for a couple of dollars off per bottle. Most
retailers are aware that this is a top selling SKU during the holiday season;
therefore, purchasers will look at the prior year’s sales for the month of December
and will order all the cases they sold in December plus some additional, based
on their sales forecasting. The idea is that the retailer turns over stock within a
1-1 ½ month period during the high-demand season, thus achieving maximum
profit per bottle and bridging their inventory from one month to another. Here’s
what the math looks like:
1 case purchased non-LTO: $252.96 Wholesale Retail (GLS) $323.88 Profit per case: $70.92
1 case purchased on $2.00 LTO: 228.96 Wholesale Retail (GLS) $323.88 Profit per case: $94.92
If you sold 100 cases during the holiday season, then you would add $2,400 to
your bottom line on just one SKU!
Conversely, if done incorrectly, with no analysis, retailers end up with bloated
shelves, aisles and back rooms that are stocked full of inventory. The store’s cash
flow gets tied up in inventory for many months. Some owners buy stock on
credit. This works if the borrowed amount is paid back before interest accrues.
When LTO purchasing is done incorrectly, a lot of the profits go direct to lenders
as interest payments. For those retailers buying larger quantities on credit, be
sure to calculate the loan payback costs when looking at your buying numbers,
as the interest will come directly out of your profits.
Follow this simplified checklist to ensure you are making the most of your buying:
• Plan purchases in advance (purchase in October/November for sales in
• Compare your top-selling SKUs in each category (i.e. beer, wine, spirits, coolers/
ciders) with what is on LTO. Bridge buy your top-selling SKUs.
• Review the prior year's sales history for the time frame you are planning to
have the inventory in your store.
• When the product arrives, ensure till systems and labels reflect the correct
Remember, just because it is on LTO, does not mean products should be purchased
with large quantity buying. A strategic purchasing method will maximize the return
on each bottle sold and ensure inventory turns over quickly.
Rebecca Hardin, Vice President with Rising Tide Consultants, specializes in liquor license and operations consulting for
the hospitality industry across BC, Alberta and Ontario.
Names in the News
Congratulations to the many BC wineries that won
awards at the San Francisco International Wine
Best in Class
Pinot Grigio - Mission Hill Family Estate 2015, Five
Vineyards, Okanagan Valley
Cabernet - Franc Poplar Grove Winery 2013 Cabernet
Franc, Okanagan Valley
Pinot Grigio - Mission Hill Family Estate 2015
Cabernet Franc - Poplar Grove Winery, Okanagan
BC’s Double Gold Winners
Brut - Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Okanagan Valley NV
Bordeaux Blend - Summerhill Pyramid Winery,
Okanagan Valley 2012
Bordeaux Blend - Indigenous World Winery, Okanagan
Cabernet Sauvignon - Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Premium Bordeaux Blend - Cassini Cellars, Okanagan
Premium Red Blend - Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estates
Riesling - Fort Berens Winery, Cariboo Chilcotin 2015
Riesling Ice Wine - Whistler Okanagan Valley 2014
Riesling Ice Wine - Mission Hill Family Estate 2014
Sparkling Brut - Steller's Jay, Okanagan Valley 2009
Welcome New ABLE BC Members
Poets Cove Resort & Spa
Revolution Resource Recovery Inc.
Sapperton Liquor Store
South Vancouver Liquor Store
Shannon Lake LRS
ABLE BC 29, 30
A.M.A. Grant Ventures 18
Aaron Morgan Group 20
Barnet POS Systems 13
Bay City Projects 18
BC Hospitality Foundation 21
Breakthru Beverage Canada
BWI Business World 14
Cannon Industries 21
CLR POS 6
David Herman 7
G&W Distilling (Sid's Handcrafted Vodka) 9
Granville Island Brewing
Homelife Benchmark 27
Independent Distillers IFC, 11
Johnstone's Benefits 27
Matthews Campbell 21
McClelland Premium Imports 10
MJB Law 28
Mt Begbie Brewing 7
OST Trading 7
RBC Royal Bank of Canada 21
Red Truck Beer Co. 5
Royal LePage Sterling 23
Sysco Vanc/Vic/Kelowna 4
Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions 26
INCREASE YOUR FOLLOWERS
DEVELOP ENGAGING SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS
by Margaux Burgess and Joyce Hayne
26 The Publican
Social media is a key component of your marketing program. Particularly for
small businesses it is a powerful way to reach potential customers with minimal
financial investment. Successful campaigns on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
can guarantee increased opportunities to connect with your audience and
grow brand recognition while cultivating loyalty. In a competitive market,
higher recognition and loyalty have a positive influence on your bottom line
by increasing the number of visitors to your store, the frequency of visits, and
the number of purchases. For existing customers it is an effective way to offer
prompt and personalized customer service.
There are three main social media platforms that are of primary importance to
small businesses: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
With over 1.5 billion users and still growing, Facebook is the biggest site. Everyone
is there and so you need to be too. For many people it is the first place they
will look to find out about your business. Facebook is the best location to tell
stories. It is a platform that allows you to use as many characters as you want
as well as many forms of content. You can upload pictures and video, you can
share what you are listening to or how you are feeling. Remember to follow the
80/20 rule–that is 80 per cent non-promotional and 20 per cent promotional
information. This guarantees followers will stay, share information, and bring
more people into the community.
The Pint Public House in Vancouver is a great example of how to use Facebook
well. They share valuable personal videos of people enjoying their pub and use
attention-grabbing photos of events they’re promoting. The Pint also has a
section for visitor posts and reviews.
If you are able to create visual content
that is appealing and honest, you can
build trust in your brand and business
while increasing your community of
It is important to ensure you are
providing content that encourages and
even demands engagement while you
yourself engage and communicate
The second key network is Twitter. Twitter is an open space where anyone can
engage with anyone. It is here that you have the opportunity to talk to the people
you want to know, not only those you do know. Unlike anywhere else, Twitter
allows for the chance to microblog and interact regularly. People want you to
join the conversation. You can respond publicly to anyone and gain followers
daily by sharing your expertise.
The Cove Neighbourhood Pub in Vancouver has capitalized on this by sharing
community information and events and following trends like farm to table.
They cross-promote their Facebook page by sending followers there for free
Third and currently the most exciting platform is Instagram, a social sharing
site built exclusively around the most successful medium of content: pictures.
Whether daydreaming, educating or acting as a voyeur, people love to look,
and this is the medium to actually show, not just tell, what you are about. It is
rapidly growing, especially with millennials, the group that will take over the
bulk of consumption in the coming years. It is here that you can tell your story in
attractive and attention-grabbing images. If you are able to create visual content
that is appealing and honest, you can build trust in your brand and business
while increasing your community of followers.
Woody’s Liquor Store in Coquitlam has a well-conceived and executed Instagram
strategy. They showcase their comprehensive product range with great photos,
encouraging people to come into the store to see new products that have
arrived. Woody’s is showing their followers that they are dedicated to providing
the best selection available. They use a broad range of hashtags to extend their
reach to many people.
Creating a Community
For these platforms to be successful, you must consistently build a growing
community of fans. It is important to ensure you are providing content that
encourages and even demands engagement while you yourself engage and
communicate. Without this relationship your followers and fans get bored, tune
you out, and eventually unfollow and unlike your accounts.
To successfully create a community and build your follower base on any of these
platforms, your customers and potential customers must know you are there
and have a presence on social media. There are a number of ways to do this:
• Add all of your handles, preferably with a link, to your email marketing and
signatures. Whoever receives an email or your newsletter can be easily directed
to your accounts.
• Put your usernames, addresses and handles on all of your print material – fliers,
business cards and signage for example.
• Be sure to cross-promote all accounts. Ask your Facebook followers to follow
you on Instagram and Twitter. Mention your accounts in your blog or tweet
about interesting conversations on your Facebook page.
Now that you have begun to build your community and increase followers, there
are ways to garner engagement and ensure your base grows and not shrinks:
• Do it well! Use proper grammar, don’t make spelling mistakes, and create
images that are beautiful. You want to communicate your expertise, and that
message is sent more convincingly when there are no errors.
• Communicate with candid, behind the scenes information that cannot be
found anywhere else. Your followers come to you to see what really happens
in the day-to-day operation of your business and they love it.
• Like and comment on other accounts, retweet, ask questions and tell someone
you love their picture. Engagement works best when it is a two-way street.
The more accounts you engage with, the more people will notice you and
the more they will engage with you.
• Hashtags are a powerful tool. Less so on Facebook, but with Twitter and
Instagram they are an excellent way to create communities or interact with
specific causes and subjects. Regional hashtags can be especially powerful for
small businesses as you can reach out to those in your local market.
To understand what your audience wants, it is important to know who they are.
Spend time on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you know your audience,
you know how to appeal to them and you can harness the potential power and
excitement of well-executed campaigns to consistently increase followers and
drive business through engagement.
28 The Publican
With the end of 2016 in view, the BC Hospitality
Foundation looks back on the support it has
provided to the industry, thanks to funds raised
through proprietary and third party events.
On September 19, Tourism Victoria presented the
Foundation’s annual Victoria Golf Tournament
at the amazing Westin Bear Mountain Resort, in
partnership with the Alliance of Beverage Licensees,
the BC Hotel Association, and the BC Restaurant
and Foodservices Association. Even with clouds
on the horizon that morning, the rain held off,
making it a great day full of delicious food, fun on
the greens, and most importantly, raising funds for
new beneficiaries and scholarship recipients.
Since the Foundation’s inception, more than 125
hospitality workers have been helped when faced
with a financial crisis due to unexpected medical
issues. Beneficiaries from across the province
including bartenders, restaurant and vineyard
workers have recently found support including Aja
Lamb-Hartley, Genieve Morison, and Billy Wiseman.
Aja has been working in the hospitality industry
since she was a teenager and is currently a
full-time worker at Locus Lounge in Vancouver.
Earlier this year, Aja tripped and landed on her
forearms, breaking both of her elbows. The BCHF
helped with her expenses during recovery, which
included physiotherapy. Aja happily returned to
work performing light duties as she continues to
Similarly the BCHF was able to provide financial
support to Genieve, who suffered three concussions
in less than a year and a ruptured eardrum on
the set of a student film, resulting in headaches,
blurred vision, and slurred speech. Unable to take
care of her guests at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster
Bar in Vancouver, recovery for Genieve meant rest,
massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, and
supplements to treat her condition.
In January, Billy Wiseman, a veteran employee at
Gray Monk Estate Winery, experienced pain in his
arms, which was determined to be a worsening
spinal cord condition. Intense pain forced him
to leave work for two months. Passionate about
his work and the industry, Billy elected to have
surgery as soon as possible, receiving successful
treatment in Seattle. Financial assistance from the
BCHF allowed Billy to cover expenses and focus on
recovery until he returned to the workforce this
As the holiday season approaches, consider
how you or your organization might support
the industry’s charity, and therefore your fellow
workers − whether that be through donations or
events to raise awareness and funds for industry
employees in need. The Foundation is able to lend
support to dedicated hospitality workers in large
part because of donations and third party events
that reach beyond the industry itself. Consider a
BINGO fundraiser, such as one hosted by The Sunset
Grill in Vancouver this past September. Or perhaps
engage your fellow employees to donate just one
night’s worth of tips to the Foundation − directly
helping those in the industry that need support,
and thereby building a stronger and healthier
hospitality community. Do you have other ideas
on how you can provide support? Email us at info@
ABLE BC Benefits
buyABLE: Purchasing Power for Private
In January 2016, ABLE BC launched buyABLE: our
online purchasing portal for private liquor retailers.
This web-based platform gives private retailers the
group buying power necessary to thrive in today’s
retail climate. ABLE BC members receive free,
exclusive use of buyABLE. Members use buyABLE to
access exclusive product offers, preferred pricing,
and profitability costing tools.
buyABLE is your opportunity to increase profitability
and keep your business competitive. To learn more
about buyABLE visit www.ABLEBC.ca. To sign up
for a complimentary trial of buyABLE contact ABLE
BC today at 604-688-5560 or email@example.com.
New ABLE BC Website: Member Resources,
Industry Updates, and More
The new ABLE BC website is now live at www.
ABLEBC.ca. We are excited to launch our new,
refreshed website designed to better serve our
The website is responsive and mobile-friendly,
meaning you can find what you’re looking for on any
device. It is cleaner, easier to navigate, and offers more
relevant information on the work ABLE BC’s board
and staff are doing on behalf of BC’s liquor industry.
The new website also features an improved
Members-Only section accessible by password.
Contact ABLE BC if you need assistance logging in.
We look forward to any comments or suggestions
you may have on the website.
New Member Benefit: Foodbuy Canada
ABLE BC is pleased to partner with Foodbuy
Canada to offer members a food cost savings and
support program. Foodbuy Canada is the leader in
leveraged foodservice and support procurement.
Whether you purchase from GFS or Sysco, Foodbuy
can lower your food costs through vendor rebates
and pricing programs with your existing suppliers.
Foodbuy can also assist with direct-ship vendors
including Pepsi, Unisource, Waste Management,
Hendrix Equipment, and more.
For more information and to sign up for Foodbuy,
please contact ABLE BC at 604-688-5560 or
Join ABLE BC Today for as Low as $55 per
Only by working together can we build a thriving
and sustainable private liquor industry. Please
consider joining the Alliance today. Our annual
membership fee for licensees (liquor primaries and
private liquor stores) is $661.50. Each additional
license is $367.50. Our annual membership fee for
associates (industry suppliers, service providers,
manufacturers, and agents) is $341.25.
How to join: visit www.ABLEBC.ca and sign up
for your membership online or contact ABLE
BC: Danielle Leroux (Manager of Membership
and Communications) at 1-800-663-4883 or
30 The Publican