Where can I buy shochu in Vancouver?
April 17, 2009 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Where can I buy good shochu in Vancouver?

I'm visiting Vancouver and got hooked on tantakatan shochu at the izakayas. Is there anywhere I can buy some to take home? Surprisingly the BC Liquor website only lists one brand, I'm hoping a private store may carry other brands?
posted by Gortuk to Food & Drink (9 answers total)
You might try a private liquor store at one of the major Korean neighbourhoods in Metro. The West End is basically dry (no cold beer and wine stores - seriously, wtf?) so the other two locations will be your best bet.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:43 PM on April 17, 2009

Since when does BC have private liquor stores?

Gortuk, where are you? Mightn't it be available at home?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 5:18 PM on April 17, 2009

Response by poster: I'm in Ontario unfortunately - all liquor is sold thru the government and they only offer one type too.
posted by Gortuk at 5:30 PM on April 17, 2009

Best answer: Holy crap, there's six brands on the shelves in Calgary! You're not flying through here on the way home are you? Liquor Depot at Harvest Hills, which is an Asian strip mall that's very convenient to the airport...
posted by ethnomethodologist at 5:40 PM on April 17, 2009

I vaguely remembered private liquor stores from my time in Vancouver so I looked for it and found this:
"Note: All provinces except Alberta have government-owned retail liquor monopolies. British Columbia has both private and government-owned retail liquor outlets. However, due to Federal law, all provincial liquor boards must act as first importer of alcoholic beverages."

From wikipedia. So the import is governmental, but the selling is private. And there can be big differences in opening hours and selction between the two...
posted by ddaavviidd at 6:04 PM on April 17, 2009

Response by poster: ethnomethodologist: Thanks for the suggestion - I am indeed flying out of Calgary, at 10 AM with a 2 hour stopover. I can't tell from their website whether they're open at 10 or not... also, that leaves me with the problem of how to get the stuff home, since I can't take it carry-on!

You said they have six brands - how are you able to view their stock? Can you share the list if you have one - I would go substantially out of my way for a bottle of Tantakatan, including cab fare and mailing it to myself (damn, is that even legal in this country?).

ddaavvlidd - thanks for the Wikipedia link, that helps explain why the stock at the private liquor store here is so crappy. When I heard they'd privatized the liquor stores, I was imagining I might see the variety of Japanese booze that you can get at an Asian grocery store in Seattle or San Francisco. But no such luck.
posted by Gortuk at 6:35 PM on April 17, 2009

Best answer: http://www.alberta-liquor-guide.com/LC/LCCONSUM.nsf/CatalogMain?OpenFrameset
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:05 PM on April 17, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the link and all the suggestions. Unfortunately they don't seem to carry the brand I was really looking for, and logistically it would be just a little too crazy to get there, back, and somehow check a bag or mail the stuff to myself. However, now that I know all about the wonders of Calgary booze and why it's so special, I may make an effort to overnight here the next time I transfer through YYC!

Also, I hit up the liquor store inside the airport terminal and bought some Czeck Absinthe and Indian Whiskey, both of which I can't buy in Ontario, so it's not a total loss. And I put a bug in the manager's ear about shochu, so maybe next time they'll have some in stock.

I guess it's just another reason to go back to Japan, where they have entire stores dedicated to shochu (like Shochu Authority in Tokyo, a warehouse full of something that our governments have apparently decided to import ONE and ONLY ONE of per province.) What's the point of privatization if you only get the illusion of choice?</rant>
posted by Gortuk at 9:59 AM on April 18, 2009

Response by poster: Just an update for anyone reading this - I finally found Tantakatan in a Japantown liquor store in London (England). Not in Canada, pity.
posted by Gortuk at 2:35 PM on September 12, 2009

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