New Alcohol Regulations Target Binge Drinking in Alberta

Amendments to the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission policies come into effect today.

The new rules, which are explicitly aimed at curbing binge drinking, will create a number of changes to how alcohol is served in licenced establishments throughout the province.

As of today, there will be new minimum prices established for booze:

  • Spirits: $2.75 per ounce
  • Wine: $0.35 per ounce (works out to $1.75/glass)
  • Draught beer: $0.16 per ounce (works out to $3.20/pint)
  • Canned/Bottled Beer and coolers: $2.75 per 12-ounce bottle or can

These minimum prices will eliminate cheap drink specials being offered by bars that the Alberta government says contribute to irresponsible drinking.

In addition to minimum drink prices, limits will be imposed on happy hours. Bars will not be allowed to sell drinks for less than their regular price after 8pm. Of course, at no time will the bar be allowed to reduce its price for alcohol below the established minimums.

Perhaps most significantly of all, the rules will place limits on how much patrons will be allowed to purchase before last call. Bars will not be allowed to sell or serve more than one bottle of beer or two ounces of liquor to a patron after 1 a.m.

Despite the potential effect on revenues, representatives of the affected industry are getting behind the new rules. This is because of the annoying habit of drunk people creating disturbances inside and outside of their establishments, which pose a threat to employees, patrons, and the general public.

The CBC News quotes Mike Shimka, vice-president of the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association, as saying:

“These changes have great potential to reduce the public order problems associated with binge drinking … Most of us would never guzzle a tray full of cheap highballs just before closing time, but many of us have shared a sidewalk with someone who has. These new changes should make closing times outside bars a lot more peaceful.”

The CBC says that impetus for the new limits on alcohol consumption in bars came after two police officers in Edmonton were attacked several months ago while trying to break up a fight outside a bar.

About the Author

Lawrence Gridin
Lawrence Gridin is currently a law student at the University of Western Ontario, graduating in the class of 2010. He completed his Bachelor of Science at the University of Toronto, majoring in Psychology and History. Lawrence volunteers at Western's Community Legal Services and has participated in the clinic's outreach program. His diverse interests include social justice, 20th century history, photography, boxing, and politics.

4 Comments on "New Alcohol Regulations Target Binge Drinking in Alberta"

  1. Kirstin and Kim | September 5, 2008 at 11:34 pm |

    This law is NOT cool!

  2. If people can’t control themselves in a civil way, the government is going to continue to place laws to protect those who can’t. And it sucks for the rest of us.

  3. Common Sense.
    So we keep talking about the new rules regarding pricing for drinks,how much can be ordered at last call and this reducing the potential for disturbances. Well we have a solution for this. Lets allow Liquor stores to be open till 2am- 7 days a week and have these right in residential areas,and even have them beside a 24hr convenience store so we can get mix and smokes too. There’s 5 Liquor stores within a 5 minute drive here and the one that’s open till 2am is smack dab in the middle of a residential area. It seems like there’s a few gaping holes in these laws that common sense should apply to. Try living around these stores and listen to the parties some evenings that go on well after 2am and watch these very intoxicated people burn rubber and drive away home. Liquor stores open till 2am, 7 days a week! I believe that if you can’t find a place to buy your liquor during normal hours there is something not right here. Maybe Common Sense!

  4. Im 43 years old and never had an impaired charge,I dont beleive the goverment should have any rite imposing laws for those who are responsible drinkers . why didnt I get too vote on this, where are my human rites. ONCE AGAIN THE ALBERTA GOVERNMENT HAS CHALLENGED DEMOCRACY AND THE CANADIAN WAY OF LIFE, I FEEL SORRY FOR THOSE WHO HAD DIED IN WW1@ WW2 TO KEEP CANADA FREE AND PROUD!!! iM NOT A CHID AND IM SICK OF BEING PUSHED AROUND BY THR PROVINCAL GOVERNMENT.

Comments are closed.