Beer price hikes hit craft brews harder

More than 200 beer types up more than five per cent: NDP

Fans of craft beer may find they're paying more since provincial government liquor pricing reforms took effect April 1.

B.C. beer drinkers are generally paying more for their brew since the provincial government’s liquor pricing reforms took effect in April.

New Democrats released an analysis that shows more than 85 per cent of beer types now cost more than they did in March while less than 10 per cent have gone down in price.

Attorney General Suzanne Anton had predicted there would be no significant price increases with the move to standard wholesale prices and said critics were “beer mongering.”

The typical price increase is not large – about 2.8 per cent – but the price hikes are more likely to hit craft beer lovers than those who quaff beer from big labels like Budweiser and Molson, which are largely unchanged.

Several beers from Victoria’s Driftwood Brewery are up at least seven per cent, as is Delta-brewed Four Winds IPA, and some varieties from Kelowna’s Tree Brewing are up nearly 17 per cent.

More than 200 varieties of beer are up at least five per cent since March.

The Opposition called the changes a stealth beer tax.

“Despite repeated promises that beer prices wouldn’t increase, the B.C. Liberals’ ‘wholesale price reform’, has now resulted in retail price increases for B.C. beer,” NDP leader John Horgan said.

Private stores now pay the same wholesale price as the government liquor stores, which have been allowed to open Sundays and sell cold beer. The system was supposed to create a level playing field for retailers while maintaining the government’s total revenue at $1 billion a year from the wholesale liquor markup.

Craft beer fans fear higher prices will hurt their booming industry.

“Our vibrant craft beer community will pay more for no discernable reason other than a government cash grab,” said Ari Dressler, president of the Campaign for Real Ale B.C.. “The updated pricing model is hugely disappointing for the consumer.”

According to the Liquor Distribution Branch, prices are reviewed and change on an ongoing basis according to demand, profitability and other factors.

Price increases and promotional discounts applied in June may have made some beer types more or less expensive.

Anton said the government fully supports the B.C. craft beer industry, which has seen sales triple in five years.

“Let’s put things in perspective: every month, some prices go up and some prices go down – just as any other retail cost of goods – but we’re talking about cents here,” Anton said in an emailed statement.

“At the end of the day, it’s up to consumers to decide how much they want to pay for a product and where they want to shop.”

Beer Pricing March 31 to June

Just Posted

After round-robin success, Mustangs silenced in semis

Cowichan’s success includes win over previously unbeaten Kelowna

LEXI BAINAS COLUMN: Who’d turn down a chance to perform in Duncan? It was a mystery

Cowichan Symphony Society’s Ted Rhodes shares a fun story about the Royal Wedding

Cowichan Tribes, Lila Community Choir join hands for fundraising concert

With guests including the Blue Eagle Drum Group, this concert looks like a special day indeed

Siebring jumps off the fence to ‘yes’ side of amalgamation

“Common sense tells me that it’s time to undo a mistake that was made in 1912”

CVAC Jaguars beat the heat at Victoria’s Dogwood meet

Jaguars combine for 80 podium finishes

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Catalyst Paper to sell U.S. mills to Chinese company

Sale will allow company to focus on B.C. interests, says president Ned Dwyer

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

Most Read