Cam­paign launch

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE - BY COLIN MA­CLEAN

The gov­ern­ment of P.E.I. teams up with MADD Canada to push road safety mes­sages to the fore­front of mo­torists’ minds.

P.E.I. has been given a Bgrade from Restau­rants Canada in its an­nual Raise the Bar re­port card on each prov­ince’s res­tau­rant and bar in­dus­try. The Is­land, Que­bec and Nova Sco­tia all re­ceived the same grade. Only Al­berta scored higher with a solid B grade.

The re­port card notes sev­eral pos­i­tive changes in the Is­land’s in­dus­try this year as well as some ar­eas where it says can be ap­proved.

In the pos­i­tives, it notes changes to the prov­ince’s liquor poli­cies that have re­sulted in shorter wait times for liquor li­cences, re­duced li­cence fees and the abil­ity for busi­nesses to re­new and pay for their liquor li­cences on­line.

“Both the gov­ern­ment and the Liquor Cor­po­ra­tion wisely rec­og­nize the value of the bar and res­tau­rant in­dus­try when it comes to the Is­land’s econ­omy, and they are walk­ing the talk when it comes to supporting our in­dus­try,” said Luc Er­javec, Restau­rants Canada’s vi­cepres­i­dent, At­lantic Canada.

“There are still some is­sues to re­solve, but we’re con­fi­dent about what we can ac­com­plish when every­one is on the same page. We all want to pro­vide lo­cal cus­tomers, tourists and vis­i­tors with the best in Is­land hos­pi­tal­ity.”

One area of po­ten­tial im­prove­ment noted in the re­port card was the Is­land’s se­lec­tion of wine and spir­its. “Con­sumers are look­ing for new items on the drink menu, but un­der the cur­rent rules we can’t get cer­tain prod­ucts in P.E.I.,” said Er­javec.

“That needs to change, and we’re con­fi­dent that with all the play­ers around the ta­ble, we can fig­ure out a so­lu­tion.” Alexan­der Clark owns and op­er­ates Open Eats res­tau­rant in Summerside and is pre­par­ing to start a new lo­cal brew­ery in the old Summerside train sta­tion build­ing on Wa­ter Street. He’s had good ex­pe­ri­ences with the P.E.I. Liquor Con­trol Com­mis­sion, he said, and is not sur­prised at the grade the prov­ince re­ceived.

He also agrees with the re­port card re­gard­ing P.E.I.’s need to in­crease its ac­cess to al­co­hol va­ri­eties.

They should es­pe­cially start reach­ing for the higher shelf wine and spir­its, which are pop­u­lar right now, said Clark.

“We’ve al­ways just sold lo­cal beer. But as for wine, we have so many peo­ple com­ing in re­quest­ing higher-end things and finer things, more va­ri­ety. I’m pretty new to this busi­ness, but I don’t think that’s the way it was for my par­ent’s gen­er­a­tion, but maybe that’s the new re­al­ity for us,” he said.

Clark also said he would like to see the liquor com­mis­sion cre­ate more in­cen­tives (there are some) to push the sale of Is­land-made beer and spir­its.

“Is there any­thing they can do to pass along a small sav­ings to al­low maybe a li­censee who didn’t think of buy­ing lo­cal (to do so),” he said.

The com­plete Raise the Bar re­port card is avail­able on­line at: https://www.restau­


Alex Clark, owner/op­er­a­tor of Open Eats, pour­ing a beer at his Summerside es­tab­lish­ment. A re­port by in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion Restau­rants Canada re­cently gave P.E.I.’s liquor laws a B- grade.

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