May 28th, 2024

Wine and spirits easing wheels of commerce at YQL Marketplace

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on January 8, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Helen Manzara, Birds and Bees Alcohol southern Alberta sales representative and YQL Marketplace co-owner, helps a customer at her booth on Friday afternoon at the YQL Marketplace.


YQL Marketplace has been a place for multiple vendors to showcase their merchandise and since November 2021, vendors of alcoholic beverages have been able to take part in it as well.
“We are classed through AHS – classed lightly put – as a public market which means we run like a mall, so anything that you would see in a mall you will see in this market,” said Helen Manzara, YQL Marketplace co-owner and Birds and Bees Alcohol southern Alberta sales representative.
She added that the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) has classified the YQL Market as an artisan market, meaning they have artists who sell their wares.
“But it also means that we are able to carry a liquor license which enables liquor vendors to come into an artisan market,” said Manzara.
She said they are able to provide samples at the marketplace, as long as a valid ID is shown when asked to verify age.
“This market, because we have a small amount of people coming through but it is a steady trickle, we just freepour rather than cover portioned off samples,” said Manzara.
Manzara said she has been with Birds and Bees Alcohol since 2011 and has been operating her booth in the YQL Market since November last year, with some decent results.
“It’s been steady. Alcohol sales are one thing that’s never really slowed down because of COVID,” said Manzara.
Manzara said their Birds and Bees Alcohol products are made from fruit grown in the Alberta Prairies as well as honey. They offer a variety of wines, mead, grain vodka as well as vodka distilled from wine and flavoured vodka. She added that some of their products are infused with hemp.
“Normally vodka is made from potatoes or grain, but our first line came out as distilled from wine so we have chokecherry, Saskatoon, alfalfa and crabapple,” said Manzara.
Manzara said for those interested in checking out their merchandise to visit their website at as their products are also in local liquor stores and the website provides information on where to find them. She added that better yet, stop by the marketplace.
YQL Marketplace is open every weekend year round. Friday and Saturday hours of operation are 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Sunday hours are noon to 6:00 PM.
“Our fullest market was just before Christmas, where we had 42 vendors in here and we still have room for more,” said Manzara.
Manzara said that every time someone stops by the marketplace, they can expect to see new vendors.
“We have our vendors who are part time, so they’re here two days of the weekend. We have our full-time vendors, who are here three days of the weekend. Then we have our casual vendors who are here only one or two days in a month, so every time you come through our door you will see someone new,” said Manzara.

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