This blog is written by Mark Hicken. Mark is a consultant to the BC wine and liquor industry (see his business web site here: Alca Intelligence Inc.). Mark is a former lawyer (now retired from law practice).
Mark has a B.A. (Honours) from UBC and a J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the International Association of Wine Lawyers (Association Internationale des Juristes du Vin) and the American Society for Enology & Viticulture. He has also completed the Wine Executive Program at the University of California, Davis. Mark is the Chair of the Vancouver International Wine Festival.
In 2012, Mark appeared before the House of Commons Finance Committee as a witness in favour of Bill C-311 (the inter-provincial shipping law reform bill which became law in June 2012). In 2016, he appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to discuss the issue of inter-provincial trade barriers and was quoted in their report "Tear Down These Barriers: Dismantling Canada's Internal Trade Barriers".
Mark has been frequently quoted on wine law issues in the past, including in the Globe and Mail, the Economist, the National Post, the Vancouver Sun, the Toronto Star, Canadian Lawyer, Lawyers Weekly, BC Business, Business in Vancouver, CBC radio, CBC television, Global television, Wine Spectator, Wine Business Monthly and Wines & Vines.
Mark was the co-founder and co-chair of the annual BC Wine & Liquor Law Conference, first held in Vancouver in 2009 in conjunction with the Vancouver International Wine Festival (now the AIDV Canada Wine & Liquor Conference). He has spoken at many industry conferences including the 2011 12th Annual Viticulture & Enology Conference in Penticton, the 2013 MNP Direct to Consumer Workshop in Penticton, the 2014 MNP Direct to Consumer Workshop in Niagara, the 2014 MNP Direct to Consumer Workshop in Penticton, the 2014 Pacific Toast Expo, the 2018 Fortify Conference held in Penticton, and the 2020 Fortify Virtual Conference. Mark has occasionally spoken at international industry events including the 2013 through 2015 Wine Law in Washington conferences held in Walla Walla and the 2019 international AIDV conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In late 2017, Mark was appointed as the BC Government's Liquor Policy Advisor. In that capacity, Mark chaired the Business Technical Advisory Panel (Liquor Policy) which was tasked with making recommendations to improve efficiency and business relations between government and BC's liquor industry. The Panel presented a report to government in spring 2018 which contains 24 recommendations for policy changes (affectionately now known as the "Hicken Report"). The report and industry submissions can be viewed here: Improving Efficiency of Government and Business Interactions in BC Liquor Law and Policy. Mark continues to be an active member of the BTAP group which has continued to work with government on numerous policy reforms and Covid-relief measures.