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Wine with that? Proposed legislation could allow alcohol delivery with takeout orders

The Nova Scotia PC party tabled legislation that would allow restaurants to deliver beer and wine along with food orders
(stock photo)

On Tuesday, the Nova Scotia PC party tabled legislation that would allow restaurants to deliver beer and wine along with food orders.

"I think it's just keeping up with the times and adjusting to the way the marketplace is adjusting," says Luc Erjavic, Vice President Atlantic for Restaurants Canada.

Currently, alcohol is not allowed to leave the premises of licensed restaurants. But Erjavic says the new law could allow for up to one bottle of wine, or six cans of beer with each entrée in the order.

"We're seeing that this customer is not coming to the restaurant as much and they're eating at home. So both us and government potentially are losing a sale of alcohol because a customer is eating at home," he tells ENWS 95.7's The Todd Veinotte Show.

Erjavic says that the number of "digital diners" -- those who order on apps like Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes -- have increased by 54 per cent, while in-store dining has stayed the same in recent years.

"It's where our customers are going, where the market's going, and all we want to be able to do is continue to serve our customers in the way they want to be served," he explains.

Of course, there would still be regulations surrounding how alcohol is delivered to someone's home.

"You have to be a licensed restaurant, you have to deliver the alcohol with food, you have to charge venue prices, and you have to sign for it, check IDs and sign for receipt of the product," says Erjavic.

The spokesperson says other jurisdictions like Quebec and Manitoba, where alcohol delivery is already allowed, have similar laws in place. Erjavic says craft breweries and specialty wineries in Nova Scotia are already allowed to deliver to their customers.

"Why shouldn't a restaurant who already sells alcohol, licensed, regulated, trained, continue the practice in a responsible manner?" he asks.

Because tech-savvy Millennials now dominate the marketplace, Erjavic says he doesn't expect a decline in online orders anytime soon.

"The Baby Boomer used to dominate the markets," he says. "Now the markets place is being dominated by Mlilennials, Xers, Ys and Zeds, who use technology, are comfortable with technology, and just want to regulatory regime to keep up with technology."

He hopes the province will update its liquor act to get in line with the times.

"We have a liquor act that was written 40 to 50 years ago, that just didn't even think of these sort of things," Erjavic adds.

Erjavic understands that the government doesn't want to take risks, but says that other places have proven that responsible alcohol delivery is possible.

"Alcohol can sometimes tend to be a polarizing issue, so I think government's just cautious on their approach," he says. "But we see it's being done responsibly, we see it's being done successfully, and I think it's not if we should do it, it's how are we going to do it the right way.

If Nova Scotia doesn't adapt soon, the Erjavic says the province will regret losing out on sales.

"If we're losing a sale, they're losing a sale. They'll lose that incremental income that could go to provide roads, health care, or education."

Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

Victoria is's weekend editor and a Halifax-based freelancer. She is originally from Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley.
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