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Policy update

Responsible liquor service focus of ‘happy hours’ policy change

The Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis (AGLC) has eliminated the 8 p.m. limit on ‘happy hours’, allowing liquor establishments to offer reduced drink prices at any time during operating hours, provided the prices follow minimum drink pricing guidelines.

This policy change provides liquor licensees with greater flexibility in managing drinks specials and it better supports the shared social responsibility and public safety obligations.

AGLC strives to make sure our policies support progressive business environments, are in the public interest, and, ultimately, help us deliver on our promise to provide choices Albertans can trust. We recognized the 8 p.m. limit on ‘happy hours’ was not meeting these objectives and, as a result, the limit was eliminated. The new policy responds to industry’s needs and is better aligned with our social responsibility mandate.
- Bill Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer

Eliminating the time limit on 'happy hours':

  • allows licensees to run their drinks specials according to business needs;
  • reduces the need for a full day reduction in menu prices in licensed establishments; and,
  • helps support safe and responsible drinking environments.

The Alberta Safer Bars Council, a policy advisory group with membership from liquor industry associations, individual licensees and law enforcement, is supportive of this policy change.

The 8 p.m. limit on ‘happy hours’ was introduced in 2008, along with two additional policies aimed at helping to make provincial drinking establishments safer for staff and patrons:

  • minimum drink prices for liquor consumed on-premises, and
  • a limit on the number of drinks a patron can order or possess after 1 a.m.

Both of these policies remain unchanged and in effect. Additionally, at all times during operating hours, liquor licensees and their staff are expected to follow all requirements for responsible liquor services, including no service to intoxicated individuals.

A part of AGLC’s mandate is to ensure the province’s liquor industry operates effectively, with integrity and in a socially responsible manner. Clear and efficient policies support this mandate and help sustain a responsible liquor industry that meets the expectations of Albertans.