“We are disappointed with the approach Alberta has taken with recent changes to its markup rates for craft beer, which create an unfair advantage for Alberta beer at the expense of the 118 craft breweries we have here in British Columbia. These changes are not in line with the spirit of open-market access and the New West Partnership Agreement.
“By raising the beer markup for small craft brewers by over 1,000% 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.
“The majority of B.C. breweries are smaller-scale producers who play an important role in B.C.’s economy and employ approximately 2,500 people throughout the province.
“This spring, we took action based on what we heard from craft brewers in B.C. about what they needed to grow their businesses and drive innovation in the sector and reduced the markup applied to craft-beer products by approximately 25%. When we made the reduction, we made sure this benefit was also available to craft beer brewed in Alberta.
“We have always extended those benefits to craft brewers from Alberta and other provinces. There are no restrictions on Alberta craft brewers selling their products into British Columbia and the same markup applies. We are evaluating whether this is compliant with our existing trade agreements under the New West Partnership, and exploring next steps with a view to ensuring appropriate market access for B.C. brewers.
“Over the past five years, craft-beer sales in B.C. have almost tripled. Our craft-beer industry is thriving, and we are taking action to help ensure this industry continues to be successful. Opening up markets for British Columbia’s world-renowned craft-beer products in other provinces and around the globe is an important part of that.”