What it means for Patrons and Visitors:
A more vibrant hospitality sector
Manitoba is building a bold, progressive image with new attractions like the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the International Polar Bear Centre. As these attractions draw more international visitors, our province will greet them with vibrant entertainment options that reflect our status as a world-class destination and a great place to live, work and play.
Our hospitality strategy will also ensure that Manitobans and visitors can enjoy these opportunities in a safe environment. The goal is to increase our appeal for tourism and economic growth, while enhancing quality of life for all Manitobans.
What better way to toast our province than with Manitoba-made beer, wines and spirits? Consumers around the world are seeking out unusual products with local flavour, and recent changes in provincial legislation have made it more viable to produce these beverages here.
- Brew pubs will be able to sell their product on an off-sale basis and through other retailers such as Liquor Marts. That means you’ll be able to enjoy your favourite microbrew at home and at social events, instead of only at the brew pub.
- Another new option for local beverage producers will be visitor centres, including free-standing locations. Businesses will be able to use outdoor advertising to call attention to these new centres and special promotions.
- Made-in-Manitoba products will also benefit from other incentives, like reduced mark-ups and promotional assistance.
Imagine being able to enjoy virtually any bottle of wine when you dine at your favourite bistro. You’d buy the wine at the retail outlet of your choice, bring it to the restaurant and then be served the wine with your meal in return for a corkage fee.
That’s the idea behind the new program that is available to licensed restaurants as of November 1, 2011. The voluntary program allows patrons to bring their own unopened bottle of commercially-produced wine to enjoy with a meal in a dining room of a licensed premises. To ensure responsible service, only staff of the licensed premises are authorized to open a bottle of wine. The licensed premises is allowed to charge a corkage fee for this service.
Five other Canadian provinces currently offer this option, including Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Some unique hospitality opportunities, such as brew pubs, will also benefit from more latitude in liquor regulations. For example, the MLCC now has the authority to grant exemptions from the rule that liquor sales must be no more than 60 per cent of total sales for certain types of establishments. This kind of flexibility will accommodate premises selling premium brands of wine, beer and spirits.
Manitoba is keeping the rules simple and fair by standardizing the closing time of 2:00 a.m., seven days a week (except Easter Sunday) for all licensed premises and occasional permit events. That means cabarets and beverage rooms no longer need to close at midnight on Sunday nights, and socials, weddings and charity fundraisers are able to serve liquor for an additional hour.
For retail beer vendors, closing time is 2:30 a.m.
Municipalities retain the right to set their own local bylaws to restrict hours.
The MLCC has amended the required food-to-liquor ratio for unique hospitality opportunities. For example, the ratio of food to liquor might be decreased if a licensed premises was selling high-priced liquor products. Varying the rule makes sense in such a situation because a bottle of expensive wine could easily exceed the value of the food sold.