On April 1, 2015, government removed barriers to growth for craft breweries as part of the Liquor Policy Review changes – and now, only four short months later, it’s clear these changes are working for industry and for the public.
Today, Vancouver-Fraserview MLA Suzanne Anton and Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform John Yap toured Dogwood Brewery – Vancouver’s first organic craft brewery – and witnessed the success of a small start-up that’s on its way to big results.
Building on their staple, hand-crafted and organic beers – an IPA, stout, honey ale and fest ale – with ingredients sourced mostly from B.C., Dogwood Brewery also occasionally experiments with batches such as passionfruit lychee lager, carrot and beet ale and espresso porter. Serving by the keg, can or growler, Dogwood Brewery is helping fill the demand for unique and innovative products, as British Columbians have been eager to support B.C.’s craft beer movement.
Craft beer a success in B.C.
Between April 1 and July 1, 2015, craft beer sales from small-scale breweries at BC Liquor Stores increased by more than 50% compared with the same time period last year. Sales from medium-scale producers have also increased, by 19% over the same time period. Overall, craft beer sales in B.C. have almost tripled in the last five years.
With the move on April 1 to more gradual increases in mark-up rates for beer production, government has removed a financial barrier that previously hindered growth of the industry. Since the beginning of the year, 12 new breweries have received their licence to brew beer in B.C.
That brings us to a total of 113 breweries in the province – more than three-quarters of which are craft breweries.
Moving forward, government encourages craft brewers and the liquor industry as a whole to provide feedback to Yap as part of his annual review of B.C.’s wholesale liquor mark-up.
Coralee Oakes, Minister Responsible for Liquor –
“Government is getting out of the way so that the liquor industry can generate local jobs, create unique products for consumers and stimulate B.C.’s economy – and as we witness new craft breweries popping up around the province each month, we can see that our changes are really working.
John Yap, Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform –
“The changes we’ve made over the last few months support the craft beer industry, while increasing competition in the market – which ultimately benefits British Columbians.
“This is a thriving industry in our province and we want to help ensure its growth continues. British Columbians clearly enjoy craft beer – particularly on hot summer days – and our government recognizes the need to help this industry be successful. With the changes we have implemented as part of the Liquor Policy Review, I am confident craft brewers across B.C. will continue to grow and expand, create new jobs, and enjoy continued success in the marketplace.”
Suzanne Anton, Vancouver-Fraserview MLA –
“The liquor reforms our government have made over the last four months are helping B.C. craft breweries thrive all around the province, and the numbers bear this out – six new craft breweries, seven moreapplications for others and a 50% increase in craft beer sales at BC Liquor Stores. Not only can these breweries now gain exposure to new customersby selling their products atlocal farmers’ markets, but we have also removedbarriersthat previously hindered their growth,specifically reducing the mark-up for small craft brewers and introducing a graduated mark-up as an incentive to grow their business.
“We are delivering on our commitment to encourage growthand success in the craft brewery sector, while also increasing choice andselection for consumers.”
Claire Wilson, brewmaster and CEO, Dogwood Organic Brewery –
“As a small, craft brewery dedicated to using sustainable practices and organic, locally-grown B.C. ingredients, we are proud to show off our products – at farmers’ markets, Craft Beer Week and in our tasting room.
“The changes to B.C.’s liquor policies have revolutionized the craft beer industry in the province and allowed us and many other amazing craft breweries to open and establish themselves. With continued support from government, we can strengthen and support our flourishing craft beer scene.”
Ken Beattie, executive director, BC Craft Brewers Guild –
“The craft beer community in B.C. has seen exponential growth over the past few years – and, as changes are made to cut red tape for our breweries and remove financial barriers, we can only expect stronggrowth to continue.
“Consumers have made it clear they are keen to support our products, and B.C. craft breweries have jumped at the chance to provide a wide array of innovative beers to fulfil the demand.”
- The craft beer industry is estimated to employ over 2,500 people, with an additional 1,500 working in brewpubs owned by the craft brewers.
- Last year alone, almost $73 million worth of beer products were sold in the province. That is over 16.5 million litres of beer.
- Small-scale breweries are considered to be those that produce less than 15,000 hectolitres (hL) of beer annually. Medium-scale breweries are considered to be those that produce between 15,001 and 160,000 hL.
BC Craft Brewers Guild: http://bccraftbeer.com/
Dogwood Organic Brewery: http://www.dogwoodbrew.com/