HALIFAX – People in Nova Scotia would be allowed to make their own wine and beer in so-called u-vint and u-brew stores under legislation introduced Tuesday by the provincial government.
Finance Minister Diana Whalen, who is responsible for the Liquor Control Act, said the amendments would allow licensing for fermentation on store premises.
“We know this is a service that Nova Scotians want,” said Whalen. “We know there is a demand and we want to help these businesses take advantage of it.”
Whalen said the amendments would also repeal a section of the act that allowed Nova Scotia Liquor to seek injunctions against in-store brewing.
“With licensing in place, this is no longer necessary and I thought it was heavy-handed as well, Whalen said.
The issue of stores making wine and beer on-site flared up a year ago, when the province’s Crown-owned liquor agency sought a court order to prevent the owners of Wine Kitz Halifax and Water ‘n’ Wine in New Glasgow from producing wine and beer in their shops.
The previous NDP government later ordered Nova Scotia Liquor to drop the case in the face of a growing public backlash.
Whalen said the government is drafting regulations that will govern health and safety as well as licensing fees and penalties. She said they will be brought forward next month for review and feedback from the industry.
Ross Harrington, who owns Wine Kitz, said he was satisfied his business would be moved out of a “grey area” legally.
Harrington said he is also encouraged that the government is seeking input from the industry.
“We’re really thrilled we are part of the process. That’s the key point,” he said. “This time we’re actually helping make the rules.”