The Iqaluit Beer and Wine Store has graduated from pilot project to permanent fixture.

This was the scene shortly after the Iqaluit Beer and Wine Store opened in 2017, with a lineup of customers extending well outside the doors. The GN has decided to allow the alcohol sales outlet to continue to operate permanently.
NNSL file photo

The Government of Nunavut (GN) announced today that the three-year trial period has demonstrated more good than harm, so the retail alcohol location will continue to operate indefinitely.

In a news release, Finance Minister George Hickes cited a 2020 survey through the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission (NULC) which found that 75 per cent of respondents support keeping the store open; 37 per cent of people reported binge drinking less often since the location opened while 15 per cent indicated that they binge drink more often; there’s been a reported 67 per cent reduction in people purchasing alcohol from bootleggers; and 80 per cent of respondents spend the same amount or money or less on alcohol compared to before the store’s existence.

“The goal of opening the Iqaluit Beer and Wine store was to reduce consumption of hard alcohol, encourage responsible drinking and combat bootlegging,” said Hickes. “The decision to keep the store open permanently allows us to continue moving towards long-term harm reduction.”

As well, revenue from the Iqauit Beer and Wine Store has helped enable the NULC to spend approximately $500,000 per year on social responsibility programs and campaigns, the GN stated.

 

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Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...