The Alliance of Beverage Licensees

Winter 2016


BX Creek

Liquor Store






AGREEMENT #40026059

• Making Connections p6

• Not All Products Are Created Equal p12

• Increase your Followers p26



BX Creek

Liquor Store

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 @ABLEBC

2015-2016 Board of Directors & ABLE BC Staff


Poma Dhaliwal

Vice President Al Deacon

Treasurer & Director Steve Smith


Brady Beruschi, Michael Brown,

Patrick Greenfield, Trevor Kaatz,

Al McCreary, Danny Rickaby

Executive Director Jeff Guignard

Membership &

Communications Danielle Leroux

The Publican Editorial Committee: Shannon Gavin,

Dave Lindsay, Chris Mahony, Marilyn Sanders

Designed, Produced & Published by:

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19073 63 Avenue, Surrey BC V3S 8G7

Ph: 604-574-4577 1-800-667-0955

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Copy Editor

Debbie Minke

ABLE BC Editor Jeff Guignard

Copyright EMC Publications




19073 63 AVENUE



The statements, opinions & points of view expressed in

published articles are not necessarily those of ABLE BC.

Advertisers are not necessarily endorsed by ABLE BC.


8 12




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

President's Message

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

promote profitability.

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 or


4 The Publican


Director's Report

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

changes, including:

• 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

related purposes;

• 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 .

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,, 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

• 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

Product Showcase

Licensee Retail Stores

Net Sales Excluding General Merchandise

Net Sales $




Refreshment Beverages







Litres (L)




Refreshment Beverages


Net Sales $




Refreshment Beverages


Litres (L)




Refreshment Beverages







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.

750ml +845099

$17.36 Whls



Scotch Ale


Bronze Medal Winner for

Scotch Ale at the Canadian

Brewing Awards.

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

650ml +758094

$4.35 Whsl



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

du Vernay.

Expect attractive aromas of

tree fruits and citrus with

undertones of nuts, biscuits

and honeysuckle.

The palate has a nice tangy

character with plenty of

citrus carved off with a

creamy edge.

A buy-by-the-case-sparkler.

Please call us for backer

cards, neckers and shelf



750ml +581751

$8.99 Whsl




Source: BC Liquor Distribution Branch

The Publican

The Publican





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.”

Hello, Neighbour

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.

Get Social

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

The Publican


usiness to assign a staff person to post multiple times a day, or to pay for

outsourcing it.

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

a win-win

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

local business.

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



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.

Seeking Assistance

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?

The Publican


BWI - Your One Stop Shop

for Liquor Store and

Hospitality Supplies

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

Getting Started

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

Gathering Data

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 Visit

for information on her services.

14 The Publican

LDB Report

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

hospitality customers.

Our new website 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 can help you do business with the LDB.

Page Posted Information How to Use the Information





Contact Us

& 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

Consumer Website

Contact various departments

inside Wholesale Operations

and send in a registration for

Web Store.

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

licence type.

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.

Hospitality Catalogue

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 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.

The Publican


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

education process.

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.”

The Publican


Wine Report

by Dr. Clinton Lee

Demystifying the Wine and Spirits

Education Maze

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

professional course.

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

What's New?

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

Refreshment Beverages

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.

1L +W09857

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

The Publican



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

their margins.

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.

The Publican




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

that blend.

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

The Publican


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

entertainment district.”

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

playing deck?

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


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

pricing strategy.

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

Rita Alterio


Congratulations to the many BC wineries that won

awards at the San Francisco International Wine

Competition 2016.

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

Valley 2013

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

Valley 2013

Cabernet Sauvignon - Burrowing Owl Estate Winery


Premium Bordeaux Blend - Cassini Cellars, Okanagan

Valley 2012

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

Northam Beverages

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


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

The Publican




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


The Publican


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

trivia answers.


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.

Garner Engagement

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

BC Hospitality

Foundation Update

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

get stronger.

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

past summer.

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@

The Publican


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 To sign up

for a complimentary trial of buyABLE contact ABLE

BC today at 604-688-5560 or

New ABLE BC Website: Member Resources,

Industry Updates, and More

The new ABLE BC website is now live at www. 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 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

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