BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Travellers on select BC Ferries vessels between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay could soon have the option of enjoying a glass of wine or a beer with their meal.

BC Ferries officials confirm the independently managed, publicly owned company is exploring a pilot project that would allow limited alcohol sales in the Pacific Buffet aboard the Coastal Celebration, Spirit of British Columbia and Spirit of Vancouver Island.

A leaked memo posted on the online news website The Orca says the project could begin sometime in June.

ALSO READ: BC Ferries not as full as reported due to ability to book consecutive sailings

The memo says alcohol would only be available after 11 a.m., passengers would be limited to two drinks and would only be permitted to buy alcohol along with a full meal.

Ian Tostenson, president of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, says he approves of the pilot project.

He says he travelled on Helijet, the scheduled helicopter service between Vancouver and several locations on Vancouver Island, and was pleased to be offered a complimentary glass of wine, which he calls and enjoyable “part of the experience.”

“They don’t offer five glasses of wine …. and they control it,” says Tostenson.

ALSO READ: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

A showcase of B.C. wines and craft beers aboard ferries could also offer a good venue for producers, he says.

“If you look at Europe, there’s a couple places that you can dine and have beer and wine, in fact, you have the full bar service.”

“I think it’s a great idea.

The Northern Expedition, the ship making the 22-hour trip between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert, already offers beer and wine in its Canoe Cafe and Vista Restaurant, although the BC Ferries website says the Vista Restaurant is only open during the summer.


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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