Changes to liquor laws have added a new twist to farmers’ markets in B.C., as vendors can now host beer and wine booths for samplings and sales.
“That would be exactly the kind of direction that we were hoping for,” said Comox Business In Action co-ordinator Holly Grant, who works with the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market Association to co-ordinate a Thursday market in Comox.
The revised liquor laws came into effect Saturday. The decision to allow beer, wine, cider and spirits will be up to local market associations.
“The Comox Valley is home to many excellent farmers’ markets that I believe will help cultivate a responsible and cultured approach to the sale and consumption of craft beer and cider,” local MLA Don McRae said in a news release. “Vendors have helped us develop an appreciation for the benefits of fresh, local produce and they’ll take the same approach to spirits, beer and wine.”
The Comox Valley Farmers’ Market is held Saturdays at the exhibition grounds in Courtenay from April to October. It switches to the Native Sons Hall in fall and winter.
A mid-week summer market which started last year in downtown Courtenay begins Wednesday, July 2 on England Avenue between Fifth and Sixth streets.
Thursday night summer markets began last week on Comox Avenue. They are held on the third Thursday of the month in summer. There is also a Sunday street market planned for Aug. 3 during Nautical Days.
Other changes in liquor legislation include the introduction of “happy hours,” removal of beer garden and festival barriers, and the support of liquor manufacturers by cutting red tape on licensing.
There are also new dining options that allow children into pubs and legions that choose to be family-friendly.