New ‘happy hour’ pricing not popular with bar owners

  • Jul. 15, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Local bar owners are not thrilled with the new happy hour price structure.

Local bar owners are not thrilled with the new happy hour price structure.

Renee Andor

Record Staff

Thanks to the implementation of minimum drink pricing in B.C., the Courtenay Elks Club has been forced to raise its prices.

“We had to increase our prices by 50 cents minimum, which doesn’t sound like much but it really is to the people that come here,” says Elks manager Lisa Woolman, noting the price of a pint of beer (20 oz.) at the club rose from $4.50 to $5 after the new rules came into effect late-June.

“Of course our being a club … (our lower prices are) sort of like a reward for our members and guests, who pay dues. So, then it means now they pay dues and then plus you have to charge the minimum price.”

As the Province introduced ‘happy hour’ pricing — allowing licensed establishments to sell drinks at discounted prices for periods of the day — it also set minimum drink pricing based on quantity. For example, draught beer can’t be cheaper than $0.25 per ounce at any time at a licensed establishment. The Elks Club previously charged $0.23 per ounce.

Minimum pricing for packaged beer, cider and coolers is $0.25 per ounce, or $3 per 341 ml bottle or or 355 ml can. Wine is $0.60 per ounce or $3 per 5 ounce glass and liqueurs or spirits is $2 per ounce.

A Ministry of Justice news release notes minimum pricing was implemented to “encourage responsible consumption,” as per views heard from industry and health advocates during the Province’s Liquor Policy Review.

“They’ve been worried about people over-consuming and therefore, have set the minimum charge. But, in doing so it seems that they didn’t have the forethought at the same time to think how that would affect the industry further than that one little window they’re looking in,” says Woolman.

“One could argue that if they go home, then we don’t have the drinking and driving issue, but they do because people want to get together with other people, a lot of the time. So, they still have to deal with their cabs, or their (designated drivers) or whatever it is.”

Whistle Stop Pub owner Barry VanDusen hasn’t been forced to raise his prices because his prices were already higher than the minimum; however, he has no plan to even consider ‘happy hour’ pricing at his establishment.

“This happy hour thing, as I said before and I’ll say forever, it’s ridiculous,” says VanDusen. “It’s promoting power drinking and then guess what, people will get in their vehicles and drive, and it’s putting more onus on my staff to make sure that people don’t drink and drive.”

Meanwhile, White Whale Public House co-owner Max Oudendag is pleased to have a happy hour option, though he points out the White Whale opened July 1, after happy hour was implemented in B.C.

The White Whale offers pints of beer for $5 from 4:20 to 5:20 p.m., but Oudendag says it’s too soon to say if the happy hour price itself is generating traffic to the White Whale.

“It’s really hard to know exactly who’s coming in because it’s happy hour or just coming in and happening to be here for it,” says Oudendag.

“It’s a nice option for us as a restaurant for us to be able to use something like that to get people in and I think in the next months we’ll start to be able to gauge how much it’s actually helping to driving traffic.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read