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The Co-op Cafe is considering the acquisition of a Food Primary Liquor License; this license is for restaurants where the service of food (instead of liquor) is the primary focus of the business.  In order to comply with the requirements of this license, a full range of food options must be available while liquor is available.  We intend to make only beer, cider, and wine available ― no hard liquor and only beverages with a low alcohol content.  We envision that we will provide a limited number of alcoholic beverages available by the bottle (or can) while the cafe is open during the day.

We also envision that a liquor license will make our music events more successful.  Recently, we’re finding that pairing a musical event with a special food ― and then advertising them together ― draws a substantially bigger crowd.  We expect that alcohol and food together will not only significantly increase the attendance at current events but also draw more musical acts to the island. 

Alcohol makes other kinds of events possible as well.  For example, we currently cannot serve alcohol at the Dream Cuisine Dinner Series, but we know that beer and wine would make the dinners much more appealing and popular.  Other events could include showing various sporting events with beer and pizza, poetry readings with a few shared bottles of wine, or an opening for an art show followed by a wine tasting.

Again, there is no intention for the Cafe to become a bar or anything like one.  Food will remain the primary focus, and alcohol will simply become an addition to the menu.  We will only serve beer, cider, and wine to accompany the fine food we’re going to make anyway.

The Co-op Cafe is ready for the next step in its evolution.  The vision has always been for the cafe space to serve as the place for locals to come together, hang out, and enjoy each other’s company.  There’s no question that if the Co-op Cafe has a plan that includes serving liquor and creating evening events specifically designed to bring the community together we will be successful ― not just in terms of sales but, more importantly, in terms of community service.

Frequently Asked Questions

What about extra insurance?  We would have to add an endorsement to our existing commercial policy.  It is a simple endorsement that states the full coverage applies unless our license is not in effect (e.g., it expired) or unless we don’t follow the law or license rules.

What about liability?  Our commercial policy provides $2M coverage for property damage and bodily injury (deductible is $1,000).  The liquor endorsement costs another $24 per month ($283 per year).

What about minors in the cafe?  Because this is a food-primary license, there are no restrictions on minors.

What about selling liquor in the store?  This license only applies to the cafe (a food establishment).  We could only sell liquor in the cafe; people could not take their drinks into the store. 

Can we buy from Doug’s Good Libations?  No, we cannot.  We can only buy liquor through our assigned BC liquor store; however, the selection of liquor we sell is completely up to us based on availability from the BC liquor store.

What about the application process?  We expect the process to take about 3 or 4 months in total, and the total cost is less than $1,000 for the first year.

What about other changes?  We will have to assess the physical security of the building and make improvements as necessary.  We will also have to establish new policies and procedures.

All comments will be compiled and submitted to the Board of Directors and General Manager while they are considering the acquisition of the liquor license.

If you have any specific questions, please contact Eric (General Manager ― eric[at]cortescoop[dot]ca) or Suzanne (Board Chair ― suzfletcher70[at]hotmail[dot]com).

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Comments re: Cortes Co-op Liquor License