ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
The provincial government of Alberta announced a new policy on July 12, 2016 (effective August 5, 2016) by which it will tax brewers regardless of size at the rate of $1.25 per litre, and also provide grants to Alberta's smaller craft breweries.
The announcement of this policy was brief and offered no specifics on the subsidies. It reads as follows: '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.' Press accounts attribute this policy to disappointment over the results of an increase in taxes on out-of-province beer that was enacted in 2015.
The provincial government issued a document on September 8, 2016 that provided further detail on the benefits and eligibility requirements for the program. It provided for a sliding scale in which the level of the grants will decline with a rise in production, such that grants are set at Can.$1.15 (US92 cents) per liter for any production between 1 and 10,256 hectoliters, and declines in steps to Can.80 cents (US64 cents) per liter for production in the 138,096-150,000 hectoliter range. No Program Participant may "receive funding under the Program in excess of $12 million in a calendar year." Can.$12 million is worth US$9.6 million.
Press accounts imply that many producers may benefits from these grants. "In less than three years," according to one report, "the number of craft breweries and small brewpubs (defined as brewers producing less than 300,000 hectolitres per year) has almost quadrupled [in the province], going from 14 to 52."
The future of the provincial law was put in doubt on June 19, 2018 when Calgary Court of Queen's Bench Justice Gillian Marriott found that the per-litre markup schemes violated section 121 of the Canadian Constitution.
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