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The province’s Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) confirmed this week that the local beverage sector may legally deliver taste-sized samples of their product, which is great news for boutique producers and medium to large companies alike as it will allow for the traditional ‘Vintage Release’ for BC wineries in virtual format.

In searching for ways to offer up its services to support beverage producers during the pandemic, Okanagan College’s British Columbia Beverage Technology Access Centre (BC BTAC) consulted the LCRB in April of this year. It was recognized that many of the existing practices, which required an in-person or face-to-face process for wineries presenting their samples, weren’t possible with COVID-19 restrictions at the time. In the weeks that followed, BC BTAC identified what accommodations exist to allow BC’s wineries to effectively release their new vintage wines. While the province is now relaxing restrictions to permit in-person tasting events, key influencers have made it clear that they appreciate the opportunity to work from home.

class="xmsonormal" /><em>LCRB has</em> confirmed, aided by research from the BC BTAC, that members of the wine trade can lawfully receive samples of wine and be engaged via video conferencing whilst tasting through flights of samples, in the comfort of their own homes. Producers can choose to work alone or collaborate with others to create a sample-pack which would contain a collection of food-safe vials, each filled and sealed at the licensed location. Certain restrictions apply to the preparation and shipping of samples, of which BC BTAC representatives have been briefed in full.</p> <p>British Columbia’s wineries rely on seasonal opportunity to sell their newest releases and keep their modest cash flow systems moving at a sustainable pace. This summer, thanks to this clarification, British Columbia’s wine community can get back to the business at hand, promoting the newest vintage of their wares through experiential marketing. It’s not quite the same as face-to-face, but it’s a significant step in the right direction, and our community needs to rise to the times.</p> <p>BC BTAC is proud to support our local beverage producers. Industry members are encouraged to contact the Centre for additional information and assistance.</p>""