Beer Drinking in B.C.

In light of the current review of B.C.’s liquor laws and Saturday’s sold out Fraser Valley Culture & Craft Beer Festival being held at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, I am sharing a few beer-related bits that you may find amusing, entertaining or surprising. These brew based facts were gleaned from the book, “Sit Down and Drink Your Beer” by historian Robert A. Campbell.

1. Prohibition in Canada occurred between 1917 and 1921, although this did not curb the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol could be obtained through a pharmacy by paying a doctor $2.00 for a prescription. Pharmacists could not keep up with the demand.
2. Government run liquor stores opened in Vancouver in 1921.
3. 1924 was the year B.C. allowed public drinking by means of “beer parlours”, licensed establishments located in hotels. These beer parlours came with strict rules that included no stand-up bar and beer was to be the only beverage served. No food or soft drinks were permitted and games or entertainment were also banned.
4. Women were officially banned from beer parlours in 1926 through a unanimous vote by the B.C. Hotels Association. This was short-lived, however as the government realized in 1927 that the ban was not legally enforceable.
5. To stop a perceived “public health” risk from sexually transmitted diseases during the Second World War, beer parlours were required by law to separate men and women. A physical barrier separated the genders and separate entrances graced the exteriors of these drinking establishments. This archaic law was in place until 1963, although some beer parlours kept the divider up until the 1970’s. Here at the Royal Hotel you can find the original “Mens Entrance” sign displayed in the old beer parlour, recently renovated as wedding and event space.
6. Females were also banned from working in these drinking establishments unless the business was owned or co-owned by woman.
7. Sunday drinking in pubs and bars became legal in B.C. during 1986 as Vancouver welcomed the world to Expo 86.

Although the Fraser Valley Culture & Craft Beer Festival is sold out, the Royal Hotel has a limited number of rooms still available at the special low rate of $69.00 per night to enjoy the festivities responsibly. Be sure to mention the word “BEER” when making your reservation. Call the hotel to book 1-888-434-3388 or visit http://www.theroyalhotelchilliwack.com .

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