Canadian Manufacturing

Budget 2014: Feds promise better beer

Flaherty promises to modernize standards to boost innovation and allow for more creative brews



OTTAWA—You know a product is central to a country’s culture when it makes the federal budget document.

And while many have referred to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s 2014 Economic Action Plan as a do-nothing budget, he certainly plans to do something to keep Canada’s beer industry from going stale.

The beer sector contributes more than suds to the taste buds of Canada’s economy—it pours more than $14 billion in economic activity into our collective pockets, or 0.9 per cent of total gross domestic product while employing 163,200 Canadians.

In the budget, the government claims Canada’s brewers have raised concerns with the existing compositional standard for beer, which outlines the specific requirements that must be met for a product to be labeled, packaged, sold or advertised as beer.

For example, the Pump House Brewing Company experienced delays in launching its new “Blueberry Ale” when it was determined that existing
labeling standards for beer and ale would not permit both names on the label.

Similar regulatory impediments delayed the launch of Rickard’s “Cardigan Seasonal Spiced Lager.” Under the beer standard, the addition of
a spice, in this case nutmeg, meant that there was a question as to whether the product could still be considered beer.

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

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