Booze on-board: BC Ferries launches pilot program selling beer and wine

WatchToday is the day. After decades of a strict no-booze-on-board policy on some BC Ferries' busiest routes, today you can crack a cold one. But, there are some ground rules. Kori Sidaway reports.

A one-year trial program to add beer and wine to BC Ferries’ Pacific Buffet menu kicks off today.

“I think it’s very civilized to have glass of wine with a meal. Everybody is happy,” said ferry passenger Doug Franklin who shared the first glass of wine ever sold on the Tswwassen-Swartz Bay route with his wife today.

After over 60 years of prohibition on BC Ferries’ busiest routes, drinks on-deck was a dream for many commuters that was put on ice.

But starting 11 a.m on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay, beer and wine are on the menu, and some say it’s been a long time coming.

“I grew up on the island so, saying this is my first beer on the island is a bit of a stretch,” said ferry passenger Melissa Anstice.

“If you grew up on the island, I think you’d know what I mean.”

“There’s not much to do on the ferries, besides eat and sit and watch, I mean the views are beautiful, but to have a beer to kill the time, it’s nice!” added commuter Mike Langston.

BC Ferries hopes the drinks will go down smooth, but there are some ground rules.

“These alcoholic beverages are available starting at 11 am and onwards only on the three vessels that have the Pacific Buffet,” said Astrid Braunschmidt, Manager of Public Communications with BC Ferries.

“There is a cut off time, so we won’t be serving beer and wine within 30 minutes of docking, and there is a one-drink limit per passenger. They have to be 19 years or older just like any restaurant in BC, and we do check for ID.'”

For that one drink on your sailing, you have the choice of two BC reds or whites or two types of BC brewed craft beer.

BC Ferries already offers beer and wine for sale on northern routes sailing to and from Port Hardy, Prince Rupert, Haida Gwaii and Central Coast ports they serve. This is the first time beer and wine will be offered on select sailings linking Vancouver and Victoria.

The pilot program will run a year before BC Ferries decides if the drinks on deck will continue to flow.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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