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Local distilleries unable to completely fill gaps from BCGEU strike

No more than three of any individual items may be purchased per day at BC Liquor Stores, although beer purchases are exempt.
You can now order a mojito with your takeout meal.

Just how long will you be able to get your favourite drink?

Questions are plenty about the impact of B.C. General Employees’ Union strike at government liquor distribution warehouses will mean for B.C. restaurants and private liquor retailers.

On Friday, the province imposed limits on alcohol sales at government-run stores. No more than three of any individual items may be purchased per day at BC Liquor Stores, although beer purchases are exempt.

Local craft distilleries such as Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery say they will do their part to support businesses that have their supply hurting.

"Calling all private liquor stores, restaurants, pubs and lounges, we have got your backs. We can direct deliver straight from our distillery to your door any of our over 35 different liquors ranging from vodkas, gins, whiskies, to fruit liqueurs, brandies, and even Aquavit and Absinthe," the business said on Facebook.

Red Bridge Distilling in Kamloops says they are preparing for a surge in demand.

BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association president Ian Tostenson says although he is pleased to see businesses are stepping up to help, he says local production isn't a longterm solution.

"There is supply issues and limitations. There are products that we don't make though... liquors and all that kind of stuff you can only get through liquor stores. So this continued strike by the BCGU is going to really cause a lot of damage to our industry," he said.

Tostenson doesn't see an end in sight to the strike any time soon.

"It has been too long already," he said. "There is a lot of damage that has happened in the last week just because of shortages. I don't see, frankly, an end in sight. They are not talking, they seem to be miles apart and we are not getting any indication that there is any movement so this could be weeks versus days."

Okanagan Spirits CEO Tyler Dyck, who is also the president of the Craft Distillers Guild of B.C., agrees they will not be "able to indefinitely fill that void."

He noted that craft distilleries in B.C. are restricted from making higher volumes.

"We are only allowed to be at 50,000 litres, so we have these punitive caps in place," he said.

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