Saskatchewan announces new liquor retailing rules

REGINA — Minister of Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority Hon. Don McMorris provided all 700-plus permit holders in the province with details of how the new world of liquor retailing will work in Saskatchewan, it was announced July 7.

Jim Bence.

Jim Bence.

REGINA — Minister of Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority Hon. Don McMorris provided all 700-plus permit holders in the province with details of how the new world of liquor retailing will work in Saskatchewan, it was announced July 7.

This new direction allows the government to collect the same amount of revenue through a new wholesale markup, while correcting many inequities that have existed among the province’s various liquor retailers.  

The new retail model creates a level playing field for liquor retailers. Now, all liquor retailers in the province will operate with one set of rules. The SLGA “Commercial Liquor Permittee Manual” details the rules and how things will operate once the new rules are implemented. 

These changes include:

• One licence for all liquor retailers (Retail Store Permit).

• One wholesale, unified price for all R.S.P’s.

• The conversion of 40 public liquor stores to R.S.P.

• Hours of operation, where and from whom permittees can buy from.

• Equal access to any mainstream beer products and no restrictions to chilling.

• SLGA wholesale ordering process and manual.

• Details of the RFP process for currently available or upcoming permits. 

These changes will enable commercial permittees like restaurants, sports facilities and convention centres to purchase products from any liquor retailer, rather than the current requirement that they purchase exclusively from SLGA liquor stores and franchises. 

“This completely changes the liquor retailing world that we live in,” said Jim Bence, president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association (SHHA), in a release. “There are now 700 options for the consumer to choose from when they want to buy alcohol. This will create significant opportunity for creative operators to offer a much greater selection, quicker availability and very competitive pricing of product.” 

“This day has been decades in the making” said SHHA Chair Glenn Weir. “We are very excited to play on this new level playing field and do what we do best, compete. When business is allowed to compete fairly for customers, the consumer ultimately wins every time.” 

Implementation date has not yet been set, but will likely take place in autumn.