This Week in History (1921): Twelve bottles a day

Christmas week of 1921 brought new limitations on the amount of beer that B.C. residents could purchase on a daily basis. According to an article in the Prince George Leader on December 23, 1921:

Mr. George Sutherland, local liquor vendor, received word yesterday that under the new amendment to the Liquor Control Act, no person  shall be allowed to purchase under any permit more than two dozen pints of beer per day.

Eight months earlier, in April 1921, B.C. had become the first Canadian province to establish government control over the liquor trade. The provincial legislature had repealed prohibition (in place since 1917), passed the Liquor Control Act, and installed the B.C. Liquor Control Board as the body responsible for overseeing the distribution and sale of alcohol across the province. 

Mr. George Sutherland, the “local liquor vendor” mentioned in the Leader article, was likely a government-authorized liquor vendor for Prince George. He would have kept his stock of beer, wine and spirits hidden behind his store counter, selling or delivering bottles in sealed packages to customers who had obtained the appropriate liquor permit(s) and completed the multi-step order process. 

The Liquor Control Act was amended several times in its first years of operation. Despite provincial government attempts to effectively control the liquor trade, however, bootlegging and illegal sales continued — just as they had under prohibition.

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