Tiffin Project

Save the Growler!

by Editor on March 5, 2013

Post image for Save the Growler!

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:

Sign the Petition here!

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


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rick Green March 13, 2013 at 1:44 am

I think the LDB is being disingenuous. They aren’t saying why draught is marked up $0.72/litre and why bottles & cans are $1.04/litre. People should be asking this! It does make sense if it is based on their respective cost to the LDB to transport and administer.

To buy beer in a reusable jug directly from the brewery is clearly not the same as buying it from a store or in a pub. It doesn’t have to be transported to a third party, it doesn’t have to go to an LDB warehouse, then on to a government store. Compared to bottles, cans and kegs, growlers cost the LDB next to nothing to administer.

Growlers also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, packaging waste, and the cost of recycling. So if the LDB’s Green Plan, as outlined in their 2011/12 – 2013/14 Service Plan, is more than an PR exercise, they would be well advised to encourage greater adoption of growlers by charging a lower tax. It will improve their bottom line without taking it out of the pockets of consumers.

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