BC Ferries passengers will be able to purchase beer and wine on three vessels servicing the Vancouver-Victoria route next month.
Customers 19 years or older will be able to purchase one drink with their meal if they dine in the Pacific Buffet on specific sailings between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay.
This figure is one less than what BC Ferries had initially proposed in an internal communique to employees dated April 10, 2019. It initially spoke of allowing two drinks along with the purchase of a meal, and BC Ferries had initially planned to launch the trial in June.
Astrid Braunschmidt, manager of communications and media relations, said the figure of one drink per customer is a condition of BC Ferries liquor licence.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) had raised concerns about the trial earlier this spring. Black Press Media has reached out to MADD for comment.
BC Ferries noted in a release that the trial does not change BC Ferries’ zero-tolerance policy for impaired driving.
Braunschmidt said the one-year-long trial will come into effect in late October with the actual starting date still being finalized. She added BC Ferries expects to generate $500,000 in revenues, with the money flowing back into ferry operations.
She added BC Ferries will review the trial using feedback from customers and crews, as well as revenue figures as measuring sticks of success.
Customers will have the choice of two red wines, two white wines, and two types of beer. The wines will carry the B.C. Vintners Quality Alliance label, while the beers will be B.C. craft beers.
A 12 ounce glass of beer will cost $6.99 plus taxes, while a five ounce glass of wine will cost $9.99 plus tax.
While BC Ferries already offers beer and wine for sale on northern routes serving Port Hardy, Prince Rupert, Haida Gwaii and ports on the central coast, the trial marks the first time beer and wine will be available on sailings linking Vancouver and Victoria.
“Many of our customers have said they would like to have a glass of wine or beer with their meal while sailing with us,” said Melanie Lucia, executive director of catering and terminal operations. “We look for ways to enhance the customer experience and are pleased to now offer these beverages in the Pacific Buffet.”
The service will be available on three vessels including the Spirit of Vancouver Island, Spirit of British Columbia and the Coastal Celebration.