(Image / Kurt Penner Twitter)

After years of maintaining a strict “no alcohol and drugs” policy, BC Ferries is set to launch a pilot program offering the sale of beer and wine on select vessels.

According to an internal memo shown to staff members, customers of legal age will soon be able to buy up to two alcoholic beverages with the purchase of a meal at the Pacific Buffet.

See also:

This program will be implemented in June 2019 on the Spirit of British Columbia, Spirit of Vancouver Island, and Coastal Celebration vessels travelling between Victoria and Vancouver.

“This pilot approach enables the company to manage the risk of a new idea, gather feedback from employees and customers, and identify any deficiencies before rolling this out to other vessels,” reads the memo.

“BC Ferries is one of the few ferry operators not offering liquor with food services on our major routes, and there is an opportunity to increase our customer experience if this pilot is successful.”

The initiative is being rolled out in response to a 2018 survey in which 50% of respondents expressed interest in alcoholic beverages served in ferry lounges and restaurants. The company has therefore decided to provide drinks from select B.C. Breweries and VQA wineries at the Pacific Buffet.

The former crown corporation already sells beer and wine on its Northern routes and now aims to test the “viability and scalability” of offering alcohol on all routes by implementing the pilot program for one major route.

Beer and wine will only be provided on the aforementioned vessels from 11 a.m. onwards, and must not be consumed anywhere other than the Pacific Buffet.