FLORENCEVILLE-BRISTOL, NB – CBC News reports that Railcar Brewing, a new brewery that was set to launch next month in rural New Brunswick, may be forced shut down before it even opens due to newly implemented NB Liquor rules around minimum sales amounts.
As owner Mitch Biggar noted on Facebook earlier this week, the new rules state that any new brewery starting up in the province must produce and sell 10,000 litres of beer via the government-owned ANBL retail store chain within 12 months before being issued a license for on-site retail and direct sales.
As small breweries generally depend on direct sales of bottles, growlers and kegs for a large portion of their income, this policy may not only drive Biggar to abandon his plans to open Railcar, but it could dissuade other craft breweries from opening in New Brunswick in the future.
NB Liquor has given no reason for the new rule, beyond telling CBC News that “it feels selling 10,000 litres in its stores is a manageable amount for breweries.”
An online petition against the rule has gathered more than 280 signatories so far, and Biggar will be meeting with the president of NB Liquor next week to discuss the policy.