Canadian Manufacturing

Small Saskatchewan brewer wins injunction in Alberta over beer markup

In latest development in provincial border beer battle, Great Western Brewing wins temporary tax reprieve until regulations discussed in court



EDMONTON—A Saskatchewan brewer has won a temporary injunction to not pay Alberta’s new flat rate markup on beer.

Saskatoon-based Great Western Brewing Co. will instead pay a reduced rate under an old sliding scale until both sides can air their full arguments in court next summer.

The head of the brewery, Michael Micovcin, says the $1.25 per litre flat rate imposed by the province in August contravenes free-trade rules and was having a significant impact on company sales.

“Trade barriers do nothing but hurt the economy and consumers,” Micovcin said in a statement applauding the court ruling.

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci brought in the flat rate while also introducing a rebate program to help out small-scale provincial brewers.

Previously, Alberta brewers paid less on the markup, with a sliding scale starting as low as 10 cents a litre.

Brewers in Saskatchewan and B.C. got the same deal under the free trade New West Partnership Agreement.

On the other side of the country, New Brunswick government lawyers are working to unravel another beer-related court ruling that could open up trade barriers between Canadian provinces on similar constitutional grounds.

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