Federal Budget for 2014 Promises Updates to Beer Ingredient Standards, Changes to Inter-Provincial Alcohol Rules

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OTTAWA, ON – The 2014 Federal Budget tabled yesterday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (pictured above) contains dozens and dozens of measures that will have an impact on many aspects of life for Canadians, but there are two items in particular that are of interest to beer drinkers.

The first is a promise of “Removing Red Tape for the Beer Industry” by changing federal Food and Drug Regulations to allow a wider range of ingredients in commercially produced and distributed beers. Citing the approval issues that Pump House Brewery faced for its Blueberry Ale, and Molson Coors for Rickards Cardigan Spiced Ale, the Budget states the following:

Canada’s compositional standard for beer outlines the specific requirements that must be met for a product to be labelled, packaged, sold or advertised as beer. Brewers have raised concerns with the existing standard and the barriers it can create for product innovation.

The Government will modernize the compositional standard for beer to enable the industry to take full advantage of innovation and market developments. The Government will also develop a plan to modernize compositional standards for other foods and beverages.

Elsewhere in the 427-page Budget document is a reiteration of a statement made in last year’s Throne Speech:

the Government will take action within its jurisdiction to strengthen internal trade by introducing further amendments to the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act to allow Canadians to take beer and spirits, in addition to wine, across provincial boundaries for their personal use.

Should it go forward, this change will build on Bill C-311, a Private Member’s Bill adopted by Parliament in 2012, which lifted prohibition on the transportation of wine from one province to another for personal consumption.

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