The B.C. government is protesting a subsidy system for Alberta craft beer that would give a big advantage to Alberta small breweries against out-of-province competitors. Alberta’s monopoly liquor wholesaler is raising its markup on breweries producing under 20 million litres a year from 10 cents to $1.25. “By raising the beer markup for small craft brewers by over one thousand per cent and only making grant funding available to brewers in Alberta to offset this fee increase, they are clearly discriminating against craft beer products from British Columbia and limiting market access for B.C. craft brewers,” said John Yap, the province’s point man on liquor reform policy. Yap said when the B.C. government cut its markup for craft brewers by about 25 per cent this spring, Alberta craft brewers were included. B.C. is considering its options under the New West Partnership, the provincial trade agreement between B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.
B.C. craft beer has tripled sales in the past five years, with 118 producers this year.