Saskatchewan liquor laws remain stuck in the past

    REGINA, Aug. 30 /CNW/ - The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority
(SLGA) has poured cold water on proposals to modernize the province's outdated
liquor regulations, says the association representing licensed restaurant
operators in Saskatchewan.
    "Today the SLGA has missed an opportunity to bring the province's liquor
laws into the 21st century," says Courtney Donovan, Vice President
Manitoba-Saskatchewan for the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association
(CRFA). "The restaurant industry made a series of recommendations aimed at
providing better service and selection to our patrons in Saskatchewan, but the
SLGA ignored them all and remains firmly in the Prohibition era."

    In the results of the liquor regulatory review announced today, the SLGA
hangs onto several archaic rules pertaining to the service of licensed
beverages at restaurants. For example:

    -   Wine, beer or spirits cannot be ordered at a restaurant unless they
        are part of a meal.

    -   Restaurateurs must monitor the buying behaviour of their customers to
        ensure they order more food than alcohol.

    -   Restaurant patrons must be seated to be served a drink.

    -   A restaurant menu must offer six main-course options in order to
        serve licensed beverages.

    Meanwhile, patrons at all other licensed establishments in the province
are welcome to order a drink regardless of whether they are seated or
standing, and with or without food.
    "It's time to level the playing field among hospitality establishments
and allow restaurants to provide the type of service our customers want," says
    The restaurant business has evolved significantly since the liquor
regulations were first developed. Many restaurants now focus on food during
meal times, but at night they shift to a bar atmosphere, with no minors
allowed. The requirement that bar sales not exceed food sales is a roadblock
to this trend toward multi-concept hospitality establishments.
    In addition, the food-liquor ratio hinders the promotion of premium
wines, beer and spirits and makes it nearly impossible to launch new concepts
such as wine bars and tapas bars, which have been embraced by consumers in
other provinces across Canada.
    "The SLGA has shown no interest in expanding product selection or
removing the barriers that prevent restaurateurs from bringing new restaurant
concepts to Saskatchewan," says Donovan.

For further information:

For further information: Courtney Donovan, CRFA Vice President,
Manitoba-Saskatchewan, (204) 688-8557 or 1-877-926-8557

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