LCRB frequently asked questions

Licensee information

Liquor delivery

Yes, all delivery persons that deliver liquor must have a valid Serving It Right certificate.

Yes. Flower shops, gift basket and hamper businesses may offer their customers the option to add liquor to their products for delivery only.


Selling and serving liquor


Can I sell liquor online or start an online beer or wine subscription box?

  • Only liquor licensees with a retail storefront operation are permitted to sell their products online. These licences include licensee retail store, wine store, and manufacturer with an onsite store.
  • Unlicensed business are permitted to deliver liquor. The policies regarding liquor delivery and third-party advertising requirements are outlined on pages 14-15 of the Miscellaneous Liquor Policy. (link out to the specific section)
  • Delivery persons are required to be Serving It Right certified.
  • For more information, read the excerpt from the Liquor Policy Manual (PDF, 1.4MB) (link out to the specific section)

Does a business such as a B&B, hair salon, or art studio need a liquor licence to sell, gift, or serve wine to their customers?

Yes, businesses require a liquor licence or Special Event Permit to sell, gift, or serve wine (or any type of liquor) to their customers.

Yes, licensees have the right to refuse service if they believe that a patron is a minor or attempting to purchase liquor for a minor.

Licensees may set their own policies to ensure no minors are served or given liquor.

  • For example, they can refuse to serve or sell liquor to a group if a person in the group can't show valid identification.

A customer cannot insist on being served liquor if a licensee has refused service.

Find more information and resources about safer alcohol consumption, visit LCRB Social responsibility.


Public information

Responsible liquor consumption

In B.C., liquor is defined as beer, wine, or spirits, or any other product intended for human consumption, that contains more than 1% alcohol by volume.

Some products such as cooking wine and liquor-filled chocolates can be classified as non-beverage alcohol and may not be considered liquor. See apply for non-beverage alcohol exemption for more information.

The legal drinking age is 19. Anyone under 19 is a minor.

It is generally against the law to provide alcohol to a minor.  There are a few exceptions when alcohol is given to a minor including:

  • By a parent, guardian, or spouse in a residence for consumption in the residence,
  • By a doctor or dentist for medical purposes, or
  • As sacramental wine in a religious ceremony

What identification (ID) do I need to buy liquor?

If you are asked to provide ID, you will need to show

  • An official government issued primary ID (including foreign government issued) with name, picture and birth date;

  • A secondary ID that includes name and signature or picture; such as a credit card or student ID

An expired ID may be used as long as it proves your age. If a server has any doubt about an ID, they may refuse service.

Primary ID

  • State or provincial driver’s licence

    • The B.C. Driver’s Licence and Services Card, which combines the B.C. Driver’s Licence and Services cards

  • The Photo BC Services Card

    • Formerly CareCard, counts as only one piece of ID

  • Citizenship card

  • First Nations status card

  • The federal Firearms Possession and Acquisition licence

Secondary ID is used to verify the authenticity of the first piece, and must include

  • The holder's name

  • Either the holder’s signature OR picture

Any acceptable piece of primary ID can be used as secondary ID. Examples of other acceptable secondary ID include:

  • BC CareCard (which will be replaced by 2018 with the Non-Photo BC Services Card)

  • Interim driver’s licence (issued by ICBC)

  • BC Transit ProPASS

  • University or college student card

  • Credit card

  • Canadian Blood Services donor card

  • Transport Canada’s Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card

  • Many bank cards and rewards cards

  • National Defence ID

You can’t bring your own liquor into a licensed establishment (a pub,  night club, stadium, etc.)  

There are exceptions such as restaurants that offer a “bring your own wine” option. Not all restaurants permit this, so be sure to check in advance, and ask about the corkage fee.

Yes, provided one of the servers re-seals it before you leave. If you are leaving by car, you must ensure it is not readily accessible to anyone in the vehicle while driving.

  • For example, store it behind the seat or in the trunk

You can’t drink liquor in a public place unless the area is licensed, or a municipality or regional district designates it as a place where liquor can be consumed.

You can drink liquor in a residence or private place, such as outdoors on your property or at a campsite.

Yes. They may also seize your liquor. Visit Liquor seizures for more information.

You can bring liquor into B.C. from other Canadian provinces for personal consumption without any restrictions or limits. 

Contact the Liquor Distribution Branch about bringing liquor from out-of-country, including personal liquor collections and wine cellars.


​​Liquor and motor vehicles

Liquor in a container that has been opened or has a broken factory seal must not be readily accessible to anyone in a motor vehicle.

Possession of open liquor in any private or commercial motor vehicle (such as a party bus or a limo) is illegal whether the motor vehicle is moving or not.

For recreational vehicles such as motor homes, campers, and trailers, consumption of liquor is only permitted where camping is allowed. At no time may the driver or passengers consume liquor while the vehicle is mobile.

The same rules which prohibit driving while impaired also apply to boats: you must not operate, assist to operate, or have the care and control of a vessel while impaired by alcohol or with a blood alcohol level more than .08.

Liquor must only be consumed in boats or other watercraft if the boat is licensed or it is a boat that the public does not have access to and is equipped with sleeping accommodations, cooking facilities and a toilet. In these cases, liquor may be consumed in the cabin or on the deck of the boat.

People using smaller boats for a special event (such as a day charter by a social club for its members) must obtain a Special Event Permit if they wish to sell or serve liquor to participants.

Cruise ships and larger motor vessels that travel scheduled routes or from one destination to another may be licensed if they provide a service that, while primarily marine oriented, is consistent with the services provided by other sectors of the hospitality industry (for example, luncheon and dinner cruises).


Liquor store bottle and can returns

Yes. You can return empty bottles or cans to a liquor store where that product is sold and you will receive a deposit refund.

The store may set a limit of 24 containers per person per day. The retailer does not have to accept a can or bottle if it is rusty, unidentifiable, or otherwise questionable.

Liquor stores do not have the same capacity for returns as a recycling centre or bottle depot.

For more information or to find a bottle depot near you, visit the Ministry of Environment website.