EDMONTON, AB – In a move that has raised the ire of craft beer drinkers both in and out of the provice, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) announced on November 26th that they would no longer be accepting registration or receipt into inventory of any beer with an alcohol level higher than 11.9% alcohol.
Several beer bloggers and writers quickly responded to the news with generally negative reactions, and import agents and brewers in the provice also expressed their concerns about the new policy.
Some media reports initially suggested that the AGLC was framing this as a move to help reduce occurrences of binge drinking. But in a statement released on December 2nd, the Commission clarified that “the federal government uses 11.9 per cent as the cut–off point at which a beer becomes, for taxation purposes, an ‘imitation spirit’,” and that they intend to “study how other jurisdictions handle these products, who consumes these products, to consult with industry and stakeholders and to make subsequent policy recommendations.”
In the meantime, any beers above the 11.9% threshold already available in Alberta will remain available until stock runs out, but no new products will be allowed until a new policy has been put into place.
The following links offer more coverage of this issue:
CBC News: Alberta bans extra-strong beer over binge risk
OnBeer.org: AGLC Imposes Beer Alcohol Limit & More on the 11.9% Rule
FFWD: New AGLC policy bans high alchohol beer