Signed bottles of Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation gin will be available at a Langley BC Liquor Store starting this weekend as the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) marks a century of service in British Columbia.
On June 15, 1921, the Liquor Control Board (LCB) opened the first of nine government liquor stores, officially marking an end to prohibition.
Before and during the First World War, every province in Canada imposed a form of prohibtion on alcoholic beverages, as passage from the Legislative Assemble of British Columbia reads.
“B.C.’s was enacted in 1917. As part of its successful 1916 election platform, the provincial Liberal Party promoted prohibition and women’s suffrage.”
The legislation came into effect October 1917.
“Voters eliminated prohibition during a plebiscite on Oct. 20, 1920, making B.C. the second province after Quebec to do so,” the legislature reports.
In contrast, prohibition in the United States ran from 1920 to 1933.
Instead of a ban on booze, British Columbians voted for a system of government-controlled alcohol sales.
“Fewer than 100 products were available, and all were behind a counter,” said Blain Lawson, LDB general manager and CEO. “If you wanted to buy anything you had to be 21 years of age or older and buy an annual permit for $5, or a one-time permit for 50 cents.”
The first government liquor store to open in Langley Prairie, today Langley City, operated from 1923 to 1933, according to the Langley Heritage Society. A second location in Langley Prairie operated from 1933 to 1941.
In 1975, after the LCB head office relocated from Victoria to Vancouver, the provincial government separated the regulation and licensing from distribution, creating the LDB and the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (now the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch).
In 1988, the provincial government introduced private retail liquor stores.
Today, LDB operates 198 retail stores bringing in revenues of more than $1.1 billion annually to the province.
The LDB supports registered local charities by accepting applications for the placement of coin donation receptacles in stores and works with other non-profits like the Canadian Red Cross and Food Banks BC to solicit donations on their behalf.
“Since we entered into a partnership with Food Banks of BC in 2020, our customers have helped us raise over $1.5 million dollars to provide food relief to people in need all across the province,” Lawson said.
BCLS will kick off a year of activities and events with a celebration sale starting on Saturday, June 12.
One hundred bottles of Aviation gin signed by Ryan Reynolds will be available at the BCLS located at 6435 201 St. in Langley, as well as Kelowna Orchard Park Shopping Centre; Park Royal in West Vancouver, in Vancouver at Alberni and Bute Streets, and 39th Avenue and Cambie Street.
Customers will be limited to only one bottle per person. The signed bottle is priced at $37.99.
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