Great Western Brewing Taking Alberta to Court over Beer Markup Policy


SASKATOON, SKCBC News reports that Saskatchewan’s Great Western Brewing has filed a court action seeking to have the beer markup policy of Government of Alberta declared unconstitutional.

Announced in mid-July, the policy stipulates that a markup of $1.25 per litre is applied to all beer sold in Alberta, regardless of the size or location of the brewery. However, this was quickly followed by the implementation of a grant program that provides funding to Alberta-based breweries that produce less than 300,000 hectolitres, with amounts allocated based on sales volume, essentially lowering the markup for those breweries.

Great Western CEO Michael Micovcin tells CBC that the brewery was being charged a markup of 47 cents per litre under the previous policy, which offered a lower rate to breweries in the New West Partnership region (British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan) than those outside. This policy was also controversial, and led to several breweries withdrawing from the region and legal action from Ontario’s Steam Whistle Brewery.

Micovcin says that the change implemented in the summer was a “thinly veiled attempt to circumvent the previous court challenge,” and is “creating a tariff or a barrier for free trade between Alberta and other provinces.”

For more details, see the full CBC News report.

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