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Alberta Re-Vamps Mark-Up Policy Again

aglc-logoYesterday afternoon the Alberta government put out a short media release regarding a change to the beer mark-up policy. I will quote it in its entirety:

“The President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, Joe Ceci, has directed the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission board to set the beer markup to $1.25/L, regardless of the size of the company or location of production. The markup takes effect August 5. The change applies to beer only. In the coming weeks, a grant for Alberta-based small brewers will be provided to support the development of the industry, while supporting local entrepreneurship and investment. More information on this grant will be available soon”

Many of the early news reports (at least those that didn’t talk to me) are getting the wrong end of the stick so far, but I can understand why. Many reports are suggesting the government is backtracking on its two-tier mark-up implemented last fall. This is likely due to the media release itself, which emphasizes that aspect and only briefly mentions the grant for Alberta brewers.

The grant, however, is the lynch pin in this policy.

Last fall the government implemented a new policy which offered lower mark ups to small breweries in Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan while the full $1.25 per litre rate applied to beer originating elsewhere, regardless of brewery size. For a more detailed analysis of that policy read my post here. The inclusion of B.C. and Saskatchewan was due to Alberta’s participation in the New West Partnership trade deal.

The new policy caused howls of outrage from importers in the province and sparked a lawsuit from Toronto’s Steam Whistle Brewing (read here). One of the effects of the policy was an influx of beer at discounted prices from B.C. (read here).

Yesterday’s announcement eliminates any graduated mark-up for beer. All beer sold in the province will be subject to the $1.25/litre mark-up, no matter where the beer is made or how small the brewery is. At first blush this may seem a bad thing for Alberta breweries, most of whom go from the lowest rate of 10 cents/litre – a 1250% increase.

But you need to read the line that says “a grant for Alberta-based small brewers will be provided”. The media release is woefully short of details – which I think is an unfortunate media strategy mistake on the government’s part – but it makes all the difference. I have heard from various sources that the goal of the grant is to make Alberta breweries whole from the increase. They will get a grant equivalent to the difference between what their old mark-up was and the new rate.

The reason it was not announced yesterday is they are still working out important details like how often payments will come and how to calculate the amount. My guess for why they rushed the announcement this week is to get ahead of the scheduled hearing on Steam Whistle’s lawsuit next week. The new policy essentially makes that lawsuit moot. There is no trade infringement if the same mark-up applies to every brewery.

Plus, grants to local producers are not unique in Canada. Ontario offers millions in development grants to their craft breweries each year. Nothing unconstitutional there.

So what does this new policy mean? My take is that this is a net gain for Alberta-based breweries. While the arrangement is a bit convoluted they will end up in the same spot they are now. Their mark-up goes up meaning they have to choose between keeping their prices the same and thus lowering their margins but getting the cash flow back after, or they opt to increase their prices, lose the competitive advantage but getting some money back to make up for it. My guess is most (if not all) pick the first strategy as it makes the most business sense.

For most imported beer, the announcement changes nothing. Since last fall they have been dealing with a $1.25 mark-up and so nothing changes for them. B.C. and Saskatchewan breweries are the losers in this picture, as they now find themselves in the same boat as Ontario or Nova Scotia or California breweries. Whether this is good or bad depends on your perspective, but it is likely to bring an end to B.C. breweries’ practice of shipping low-priced beer to Alberta with the purpose of gaining market share. Saskatchewan didn’t really participate in this strategy, so it will have less impact on them.

What is the likely outcome of all this? The fall mark-up policy resulted in a boost in Alberta brewery sales. Some of the new entrants like Blindman and Troubled Monk found themselves dealing with the good problem of too much demand and established breweries saw a bump in sales (as did B.C. breweries). The new policy will likely compound that effect for Alberta breweries. The B.C. influx will ebb and bar and liquor store owners will appreciate the price competitiveness of Alberta beer – compounding the growing desire for local products from consumers that is naturally rising.

Expect to see more Alberta tap handles at local pubs

Expect to see more Alberta tap handles at local pubs

I must say this is not the most elegant way to go about supporting local beer production. The system is kind of indirect and may create unintended consequences. But the problem is not the policy, it is the context that forced the policy. Alberta’s privatized liquor retail system and open border gives the government very few levers to which to manage the system. Had the AGLC control over the number of import listings and the ability to push Alberta beer in stores (as Ontario and B.C. have) this policy wouldn’t be necessary. But they don’t, meaning this is all they have got.

Finally, what will be the effect on consumers? My guess is minimal. Most of the shock from the fall change has been absorbed. Despite the dire predictions from some quarters, there is still an impressive range of beer available to Alberta consumers – with more coming every month. Sure, some of it costs a little more now (which likely reduces sales volumes), but very few breweries have actually abandoned the market (and some of them did it for political reasons). The original policy was far less catastrophic than predicted.

The only breweries affected by this new change are in B.C. and Saskatchewan. If your favourite beer is from Phillip’s or Paddock Wood, expect a price bump. Otherwise, it is life as normal.

Overall, this is not an ideal approach to solving this issue, but it is better than nothing. A graduated rate for Alberta breweries only is the most desirable option, but Alberta’s privatized system combined with Steam Whistle’s lawsuit made that impossible. It is the best of a bad situation.

I am quite interested in hearing others’ perspective – especially those opposed to the original policy. How does this affect things for you? Similarly, if you are an Alberta brewery, does this actually help you? Let’s talk.

 

 

 

39 comments to Alberta Re-Vamps Mark-Up Policy Again

  • My take on this… is that we just lost out on a lot of great beers… again.

    It was nice having beers coming from the largest western craft beer market in Canada (BC) We get to have the award winning beers like 4 Winds, and having some big goal setters like 4 Mile come in and show off what they have is great. Now since they can’t get the grants they will be losing out on a good profit.. as well we are going to lose out on some good beers for a great price (some of the beers like Cannery were selling cheaper here than they were in BC)

    Ontario will still bring in some beers but if you’ve noticed the one ofs like Flying Monkey never made it to our market after the first hike… they tried but they limited a lot of the ones they wanted to bring in, which is sad because they have some great beers!

    Sask market is growing.. a lot… and they never took advantage of our market when they had the chance, now the breweries will be thinking twice before coming in.

    Now the price of a Keg for any beer market that is not from Alberta, will increase approx 60.00 a keg, which is going to be rough for the beer markets as they were having a good go of selling beers from BC and AB. Seeing prices of other beers you turn to these ones and it was what they wanted, now you are correct, less beer will be sold here because of the increase.

    Townsite was staring to get some of their on ofs in the province and now I bet they will second guess it because of the increased cost.

    This is a bold move, but a stupid one… As a reviewer I’m again reaching deeper to my pockets to even afford to buy beer to review them… Part of me wants to really move to BC now to get the good beers at a cheaper price.

  • Yardsale

    To be fair, very few SK brewers could make the jump to Alberta. Black Bridge,Great West, Churchill, and Paddockwood are really the only ones capable of shipping packaged products. The rest are draft only. Not to say they couldn’t try to move in, but most aren’t big enough or just want to nail down the home town fanbase.

    I see this as (assuming the grant setup works well) boon for locals in the long run. It comes off as a bit protectionist for the AB beer industry, but it might be one of the neceasary evils to foster the home town talent before letting established and “hype” brands move in to compete. In theory it’s a step in the right direction for the province, bt it hinders the regional beer scene in the prairies, which is currently exploding.

    I stil believe a mark-up based on prodution volumes that has more than two tier would be the way to go. Factor in a weighted local grant, again, volume based, and you could have a solid market for Canadian/US imports while still giving many of the Alberta producers a stong footing in the market.

    Or maybe I don’t understand stuff.

    • beerguy

      Yardsale, it is all quite complicated, so I think you understand it as well as anyone. The issue is Alberta is the only province with a totally open border – every other jurisdiction restricts the flow of import beer. It makes it harder to find policies that support local production. If anything Alberta is LESS protectionist than other provinces because anyone can compete here.
      We are talking about $2 a six-pack mark up. The price of kegs is a bit harsher (about $50 for a standard keg). But it is important people don’t over-state the importance of the mark-up – one way or the other.

      thanks for commenting!

  • Come to think of it.. here is a question as you stated here: The only breweries affected by this new change are in B.C. and Saskatchewan. If your favourite beer is from Phillip’s or Paddock Wood, expect a price bump. Otherwise, it is life as normal.

    That is NOT true from what I can tell. It is a standard 1.25 hike for EVERYONE Including Alberta, so the small breweries will see this hike… however, they get a Grant. Will they share the grant with the public and keep the price the same… depends on how much they get, if not then you will see a price increase from the Alberta beers too not just BC and Sask as they have to pay the 1.25 increase.

    As well the macro breweries that were paying .05 off of the graduated system for taxes have that bump up of 1.20/l… that is a HUGE jump up to pay. Most Grants will not cover this cost influx.

    This is shady at best so that they can get out of court with Steam Whistle… and you can bet your bottom dollar there will be some BC breweries that will be crying foul.. and we will see less collabs come from BC and AB because they cant afford it. That West Coast deal.. is now done, and craft beer will take a heavy hit in Alberta, as well as moving the beer outside of Alberta to other places will take a heavy hit because the smaller breweries will not be able to afford to mark up the price so much when they are putting it into other markets that have a cheaper cost of beers.

    It is not a win win.. it is a screwed tactic and the long run… Alberta is going to pay dearly for a market that could have helped out while we are trying to get back on our feet with the Oil and Gas sector.

    Pretty sad that the AB government saw $$$ and used the “Steam Whistle court date” as a way to exploit it.

    • Yardsale

      I think Booze Reviews is trying to say that the $1.25 mark up will hit the macro, hard, and cause a large price jump that grant’s can’t cover.

      Looking at the October 2015 Mark Up Schedule all “Standard beer manufactured outside of the NWP” was subject to the $1.25 mark up already. BMC, the rest of Canada/the world already took the hit, now it’s the SK/BC small brewers turn. Plus, they wouldn’t be getting grants anyway.

      • I got my things mixed up.

        Macros.. not really concerned even though they skirted the hike the first time.. does this mean they do again?

        Micros: They will take a bit of a hit possibly (again speculation on my part) but they will be able to get money back from grants

        Nano: This are the ones that will have to really make something in order to survive. I dont see the government forking over 1.00-1.20/l grant to the smaller guys, they will get a grant but not as big so they will have to raise their costs of the beers in order to survive. Either that or they will get that.. but have a tax on it partially in order to get the grant.

        However these are just speculations I want to see how the AB Government will handle this, and the fallout of the gov’t breaking the GWB because there will be some upset breweries… and that could cost a few people some very nice beers in some establishments and liquor stores

  • beerguy

    Booze Reviews, yes the rate applies to all breweries including small AB breweries. However, the difference between the 10 cents and the $1.25 will be returned to them. No one can compel them to use that money to keep their prices at the current level – they are private entities. However, it makes the most business sense to do so. The breweries I have spoken with tell me their plan is to keep the prices down and recoup the lost margins through the grant. The whole thing is revenue neutral (for the Alberta breweries) – the only increase in government revenue will come from B.C. and Saskatchewan breweries.

    It is not a perfect system – a bit too convoluted and indirect. But the Alberta government doesn’t have the same policy levers B.C. and Ontario have.

    I am not sure what you are saying about the macro breweries – that point was unclear.

    Thanks for commenting!

    • Sorry I meant to say MICRO… Macro who cares about them 🙂

      What I meant by that is until we know the details there will be a lot of speculation (as we discussed on twitter) I have had a few things and thoughts of how this will play out.

      I’ll be doing a live vlog about it this afternoon. I would love to hear what Graham said to CTV as well.

      I’m just really frustrated with all these damn rules and taxes and hikes we have to adhere by .. we used to be the cheapest province for booze… the CHEAPEST… now we are the most expensive. It really puts a strain on a reviewers wallet like myself… and it is sad that I have to pick and choose and also get limited on what I’m allowed even with the borderless imports we are allowed to have here.

      Cheers!

      • beerguy

        I really do understand your frustration. Our paycheques only go so far these days. I do note, however, that it has been a long time since Alberta has had the cheapest beer in the country. Most studies show we have among the highest beer prices – due to privatized liquor retail. But that is a discussion for another day…

  • I think that the steam whistle lawsuit may be only one reason for the change – more to the point may be the recently announced (with no details) easing of internal trade barriers. We may see something in the details of that arrangement that goes even further to explaining the change.

  • Bob

    Welcome to the club that the rest of us in Canada have been in for a while, BC and SK…Alberta has now completed their giant step into the past, when taxes and markups were the same, whether you were big or small. This is one of the real pitfalls of this recent change.

    So far as I know, only NWT has not got a graduated markup, whereby the government takes a larger cut from the larger breweries. Until now. Even federal excise tax is tiered!

    Let’s be real, the big guys would take a long weekend to brew and package the beer that most small brewers make in a year. And, employ a fraction of the people. And, not provide the kind of community support that the craft beer industry provides. We have never put a line through an event looking for support by saying ‘Sorry, they are too small to bother with’.

    We have heard from our sources that Molson and Labatt have been lobbying hard to have provinces roll back their differential pricing, a practice that helps craft brewers survive. It is always unfortunate to see a province buckle. Yes, AB will come up with some system to support their own…but they have sent a loud and clear message to the rest of the craft brewing industry – we don’t care about you folks. Sad.

    The loudest toasts today can no doubt be heard coming from large corporate boardrooms.

    • WOW! I never thought about it that way! That is a great way of looking at it!

      However, if you remember the Molsons and the Labatts, were not being charged the 1.25.. they actually only got charged .05 from the first increase, somehow getting around that tax that was implemented (at least that was the last part of the story) But since Labatts is own by InBev, the smaller beers that InBev had coming into AB from the states faced a higher penalty so that could have set them off too.

      This just got more complicated.

    • Shawn

      I’m sorry, it’s quite obvious that each province uses their own liquor policies to support their craft beer industries, and don’t care about Alberta. Why should Alberta care about the industry outside their own province?

      • That isnt true… if that was the case then Goat Locker would not be brewing out of Dead Frog, and 6 Corners would not be brewing out of Paddock Wood.

        As well Collaboration beers like the Cowboy Crusher would not have happened between Trolley 5 and Parallel 49 brewing.

        IF your statement was true.. all of the above plus other things would not be happening right now.

        • sorry should say Fully true.. it is true to a degree.

          • Bob

            Hmmm….I know we are small and probably do not count as a result, but in the Yukon all markups are what they are regardless of where you are from, and (other than the reality of geography) we have no hurdles to keep anybody out. No, not fully true and far from ‘quite obvious’.

            Certainly we feel that we are part of a craft beer industry, and we do care about the health of that industry beyond our borders. So, personally, I care.

    • beerguy

      Bob, I always appreciate your perspective on these things. I can understand the frustration from other craft brewers about this. But I wouldn’t be so fast as to say that Alberta doesn’t care about small brewers. In the end this is a business. Did Parallel 49, Phillip’s, Central City and other BC breweries “care” about Alberta breweries when they started bringing their beer into Alberta in the last few months at price points below what they sell for in BC? The previous government created a problem by establishing an open border for imports before a local industry could establish itself, and that seriously undermined the ability to grow a local industry. This is an awkward and complicated way to try and fix that mistake. I am not sure it would be the route I would have taken, but not sure what other options they have. I am open to hearing ideas that would create space for Alberta breweries while not harm great small breweries like yourself.

      • Bob

        Good points all, thanks for that. I totally agree that AB created the problem, and those unintended consequences are always tough. There will be some now, we just don’t know what they are.

        The only bone I would pick with what you say is that we all compete as businesses (as you say, some BC brewers reacted to the last change made by AGLC). But how businesses compete and interact cannot be compared to a government putting their thumb on the scale and changing the landscape in one fell swoop. So no, we are not going to altruistically let competitors off the hook, but that is not what is happening here.

        I cannot agree with you more, the new solution is awkward and complicated, and it is so even before the details are released, which has a real danger of making it even more so. In time we will all get used to the ‘new way’, probably figuring out how to best work within it just in time for it to change again!

  • Sean

    Speaking strictly as a consumer, I find Alberta craft offerings compare poorly to BC’s, even the limited supply of BC craft beers that we are able to access here in Alberta. That said, I appreciate the need to nurture a domestic brewing industry, and do try out new Alberta products alongside the (generally superior) brews from out of province that I prefer. Since the most recent mark-up changes (which, combined with the changes in the value of our currency, made significantly more expensive beers from outside the NWP), I have found it harder and harder to justify purchasing beers from outside BC, unless they are truly outstanding (Breakside being a clear example), and as a result my beer purchases have declined. As this will almost certainly make more expensive high quality BC brews (and inhibit other brewers from expanding into Alberta), I will simply make fewer and fewer trips to my local beer stores (if only to see what is new on the shelves), and as a result purchase less Alberta product than I would have otherwise (and I won’t feel that bad about it, either, since my perception as a consumer is that they are cheering along government moves that make it more expensive for me to purchase what I like best). For my money, the sum of these changes is to cut the Alberta craft beer industry off at its knees: how are more people going to transition to craft from macro beers if the net effect of government policy is to make the bulk of available craft offerings (and certainly the highest quality craft offerings) significantly more expensive? I get that most of us here will suck it up and pay the taxman his extortionate demands (even if it means reducing the volume of our purchases in order to fit our budgets), but fewer new craft aficionados simply means fewer opportunities for everyone, from the producer down to the consumer.

    • Paul

      This is exactly how my buying habits changed after the last mark-up change and the CAD depreciation. While AB breweries are slowly improving towards making acceptable beer, I was buying more higher-quality BC beers and less beer overall.

      Now I’m guessing my overall beer spending will go down again.

  • I am constantly surprised at the level of excitement and hyperbolic anxiety a change in mark-up of $2.00 per 6 pack or $0.65 a bomber causes. Suddenly people will stop drinking craft beer and InBev will control the entire Alberta market – nobody will import (and in fact the importers and all the breweries they import from will go bankrupt). Craft beer drinkers will switch to water! But that’s not all! Beer bars will need to raise prices to the point that they will have to shut down! Next the local and international brewing industry will collapse in the face of the economic non-viability of all craft beer brewers who are faced with being excluded (economically, not legally, of course, Alberta has the most open rules surrounding importation in the country) from the Alberta market. Barley farmers and hop growers will be next as the masses seek out cheaper and more effective intoxicants, choosing to inhale pure ethanol vapors extracted from genetically modified corn sprayed with Glyphosate instead of the now wildly expensive and impossible to locate craft beer products. Cancer will become rampant, and millions who might have enjoyed a pleasing after work pint will drift towards smoking opium and huffing raw ether. With these dangerous drugs taking hold in the population, the economy will collapse as otherwise productive workers lie in the street, incapacitated by their newfound addictions! Anarchy follows, and general societal collapse.

    My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos, ruined dreams, this wasted land. But most of all, I remember the road warrior, the man we called Max.

    Or maybe, just maybe, we will pay an extra thirty cents for a bottle of beers made in Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

    • Sean

      If consumers aren’t price sensitive, what was the point of the differential mark-up policy in the first place?

      • My point is not that buyers are not price sensitive, my point is that the level of doom predicted (all craft beer imports will cease, this will lead to utter complacency among Alberta brewers (A trait which is generally put forth as already the case) who will produce noting but half-hearted swill from this day forth, brewers throughout Canada whose business plans rely on low taxes in Alberta will go out of business) is excessive.

        My other point is that an elimination of all trade barriers on beer nationwide resulting in a single market for beer that is not rife with tariff and non-tariff barriers that result in different rules governing imports from a province and exports from the same province ought to be the preferred outcome, and until that situation exists, Alberta has the moral right to be just as protectionist as any of the other provinces regardless of that decision increasing the cost of my pint by two quarters that I found in the console of my car.

    • Bob

      While I get your point of view, Owen, and appreciate the humour you brought to the table, I can say this…when the last change was made to increase the markup to beers outside of the NWP, we saw our Alberta volume sales fall by about 1/3 virtually overnight. So, it is not that nobody will pay the extra – but about 1/3 of the people said, no thanks. We are fortunate that we sell enough beer elsewhere (including that impenetrable demon, BC) so that the drop was noticeable but far from fatal. In fact, after pouting for about 24 hours we got back to work and devised a strategy that accommodated those sales we thought we would lose, and I can tell you that year-to-date we are up slightly in total beer sales to all markets.

      There may not be chaos and ruined dreams, but there will be market shifts that we will all learn to deal with, suppliers and consumers alike.

      Nothing gets your attention like governments changing how they pass their hands over things, that is for sure!

      • Bob, I can certainly appreciate a sudden loss of sales volume, and I have considered Yukon “Local” for longer than I like to admit, and the mark-up change hasn’t stopped me from drinking Lead Dog, which is one of my favorite beers of all time. There are some problems that I see as a beer lover in Alberta, however.

        Where BC breweries are selling product in Alberta below the price in their own market, how is that not dumping? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumping_(pricing_policy)

        What incentive is there for the Alberta Government to continue to provide open borders and differential markup to non-Alberta breweries when trade barriers of varying degrees block market access for Alberta brewers in other provinces?

        How long can Alberta attempt to “Lead by example” in beer import policy without any form or reciprocation from other jurisdictions?

        Bottom line – I hope that the announced relaxation of internal trade barriers (alcohol was specifically mentioned as being included) will result in a move towards all of Canada being a single market for beer nationwide with equal access, elimination of sneaky non-tariff barriers, and equal taxation treatment in each jurisdiction. I am confident of the last one, but not necessarily the first two.

        Fundamentally, there must be a legitimate business reason that Big Rock has opened breweries in BC and Ontario, rather than putting beer on a truck, and I am forced to assume that it is because in order to get the kind of access they want to those markets, it is easier to spend millions on brewery set-up than it is to bring in beer from Alberta. Just a thought.

        Oh, and the Whiskey? Fantastic. You guys are hitting that one out of the park.

        • Bob

          Hey, Owen

          I agree with your general comments on dumping, but it shows how government pricing policies affect business pricing policies. Government does X, business responds by doing Y because ‘hey, they opened that door, why not go through it’. Makes me wonder what the X and Y are this time, those unintended consequences always occur and (as may have occurred with BC beer and the last change) can be a bigger effect than the desired effect.

          Alberta has long been our favourite place to sell beer, because it was so friendly to us outsiders. Not so much any more, but so it goes. You are right when you ask how long Alberta can lead by example…obviously the answer is ‘not for now’. That is more of a killer to those of us who live in such an underpopulated place, we need our export markets. But hey, when life hands you lemons, make whisky. Right?

          Release 03, Peated, is on a truck to AB this week by the way (wonder when the markups on spirits will get played with?).

          You hit the nail on the head with the comments about breweries opening in other places rather than dealing with the burdensome rules. I wonder how small a brewhouse we need to install in Alberta so that we can get our grant cheques in the mail?

  • Bob

    So Jason, is the record for comments on a post broken yet?

    • beerguy

      Good question, Bob! I love the debate happening here. I will have to go check my records, but, yup, this could be a record. I find it fascinating that a site devoted to beer gets so much attention when I talk about policy. Clearly my readers are policy wonks at heart – which I love! Thanks for your insights – they are valuable.

  • Grants? Really? So Alberta brewers will have to apply to something like the Alberta Foundation of the Brewing Arts like a ballet or theatre company to the Alberta Foundation of the Arts? That is lunacy.

    • beerguy

      Peter, my understanding is they won’t have to apply. It is not a competition for scarce dollars thing. It will, in some fashion, be built into the AGLC system. If you brew beer in Alberta, you will be paid for the different between the old mark up and the new. That is what I have been told is the design. Lots of questions of how that gets calculated and how often it gets paid, creating understandable uncertainty among brewers. But nothing like the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

      • If true that Alberta breweries won’t have to apply for the grants and they will simply be built into the AGLC licensing scheme, I have doubts that the change would be able to prevent or avoid lawsuits from the likes of Mill Street or Steamwhistle. Such as system does nothing to avoid providing an “unfair playing field” for breweries trying to export beer into this province compared to local breweries. Personally I would love to see the markups eliminated completely for the small Alberta breweries (say, under 2,500 hL of production annually), but I don’t see this change as a magic bullet that allows free trade or avoids lawsuits.

  • Craig Lee

    Losing the discounted BC and Saskatchewan beers is going to prove devestating. Like an auto mall, having a variety of craft beer on the market helps the entire industry encourages people to try new things and also incents all the players to step up their game.

    This is devestating, and surely Steamwhistle is going to have a tough time selling beer in Alberta.

    • beerguy

      Craig, I can hear your concern, but I am skeptical the impacts will be that dire. After the change in the fall only a couple of breweries pulled out of the market. I acknowledge sales for imports dropped (as Bob from Yukon indicates in his comment), but almost nobody left the market. Consumer choice remains. This change has a smaller scope of impact (BC and Sask only), so I imagine the impact will be even smaller. Just my thoughts. Thanks for commenting.

  • So much for the New West Partnership! Does it meaning anything?

    This WILL affect us at GW. Much too early to gauge the fallout though.

    • It had crossed my mind that GWB might be the hardest hit brewery in this whole thing. Brewhouse Pils is a go-to beer for me when I need American Standard Lager (more often than you would think), but for a beer that competes on price (as you do in that category) the damage could be pretty extreme. I, for one, am willing to absorb a little markup to support GWB instead of a major brewer, but I am probably the exception to the rule.

  • Pete

    Support local. Every one dose in other provinces. Why not here. Everyone can still drink all their favourite beers from other provinces, just not being subsidized on the back of Alberta taxpayers. Its only to bad this didn’t happen 10 years ago. But when you have been living under a culture of corruption with the Pc party , dim lighting and cash deals, what do you expect.

    • Just for clarity, Pete, the original change to the markups that is now being undone occurred on October 29th under NDP leadership, not PC or Wild Rose. We were in the dark ages of beer before 2013, but that is exactly why we need the province to help small brewers get started, the Alberta industry is in its infancy compared to BC and Ontario (or almost any state to the South), playing catch-up.

  • Erica

    Just a quick math example to show you that the sky is not falling. Since they’ve been brought up we’ll use GWB:
    If their website is accurate, they produce 350,000hL a year. That means they are currently marked up at .81/L. After August 5th that will increase by .44/L. Meaning that the wholesale price of a six pack will increase .94. After retailers add their margin, consumers will see an average $1.10 increase. Though not something I typically purchase, I do see GWB brands on sale frequently. That means the brewery has price flexibility. If they want to continue to play the value game and the volume justifies it for them, they will lower their price and remain around the same as they are now. Like I said, only an example, but if you want to know exactly how much your favourite BC or SK product will increase, a quick internet search and a couple calculations and you will have your answer.

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