One step forward, two steps back. With the recent changes to BC liquor policy that allow small and mid-size breweries to supply their own restaurant/bar venues with their own products and the ability to open lounges at their brewing facilities, similar to what wineries have enjoyed for many years, has been a boon to the craft beer industry. Finally, the government is showing some real support to the fastest growing segment in the liquor industry after years of neglect. However, the latest move to jack taxes on growlers by 30%, a key revenue generator for these small producers, is about to take much of gains away.
Here is a recent statement by Adam Chatburn, President, CAMRA BC – Vancouver chapter on the matter:
The craft beer explosion in BC has brought back something from history that had almost completely vanished in Canada: The Growler!
A growler is usually a half gallon or one litre reusable bottle that you can take to a brewery taproom or brew-pub and have filled with any of the available beer brewed there. They’ve existed for over a hundred years and are part of beer culture – particularly in the Pacific northwest. Many of the newer BC breweries have re-popularized Growlers recently.
The Growlers are environmentally friendly as the bottle can be refilled again and again rather than being recycled, it also cuts the mileage that your beer needs to be transported – reducing the carbon footprint, it encourages craft beer enthusiasts to engage directly with the brewer and often you can get access to seasonal and special releases that might never make it to liquor stores. Growlers are collectors items, a great size for parties and best of all your beer often works out cheaper.
And that’s the problem: Rich Coleman and the BC Liberals, through the BCLDB, have decided that they need to collect even more tax on craft beer, deliberately punishing smaller BC breweries and putting the brakes on the growth of the industry, by increasing the markup on Growler fills.
Paddy Treavor, CAMRA Vancouver’s last President said in his beer blog: “I cannot see how some of the nano-breweries, who rely on growler sales as part of their business plan, would have any choice but to raise their retail prices eventually. This increased markup, which really only impacts craft breweries (how many growlers of Molson Canadian do you see out there), shows once again that the government is not being very supportive of the craft beer industry as they continue to make it difficult for these smaller breweries to operate, be profitable and grow. “
CAMRA BC, Vancouver chapter is firmly against this tax grab and will be campaigning for its removal and we call on our members to join in the fight by completing the petition on our campaign webpage:
Only a few days ago we reported on the growth in Growler popularity: read here
To learn more about Growlers: read here
Barley Mowat’s information about Growlers in BC: read here
Many many thanks to Paddy Treavor of the Van East Beer blog for breaking this news: read here