Alberta to end craft brewery tax discount, will replace with grant program

CALGARY – The Alberta government says it is dropping a beer markup that favoured western small breweries and will replace it with a grant program.

The NDP government said Tuesday that starting August 5 it plans to charge the same $1.25 per litre beer markup for all beer, regardless of the size of the company or where the beer is made.

It was only last October that the government announced it was lowering the markup on beer from smaller breweries in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia as part of the New West Partnership trade agreement with the three provinces.

At the time, the move drew praise from local breweries but was criticized by craft breweries in Eastern Canada as a protectionist move.

But the Alberta Small Breweries Association is now welcoming the level playing field between provinces and hopes other provinces will drop trade barriers on Alberta breweries as well.

Terry Rock, executive director of the association, said he was happy with the news and expects the grant program to make up for the higher beer markup on craft breweries.