B.C. Liberals break another promise, hike beer prices just in time for summer

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beer_linedup_on_counter_sml_fileVANCOUVER – For many British Columbians, nothing says “summer” like a cold beer on a hot day. And nothing says “B.C. Liberal” like a price hike and a broken promise.

“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,” said New Democrat Leader John Horgan.

“First ferry fares, then hydro rates, then MSP, then ICBC, then park fees, and now even beer is going up in price under this government,” said Horgan. “The first thing Attorney General Suzanne Anton said when she changed the liquor price system was to promise that retail beer prices wouldn’t go up. With her track record, that was pretty much a guarantee prices would go up and just two months later they have.”

“Today,” said David Eby, New Democrat spokesperson for liquor policy, “nearly 90 per cent of beer listings show a significant price increase since March 31, the day before the Liberal price changes came into effect.”

In total, comparing prices between March 31, 2015 and June 1, 2015:

  • 219 beer products increased between one and five per cent.

    These include made-in-B.C. beers such as a six-pack of Surrey’s Red Racer IPA (up 2.04 per cent).
    March 31 price: $11.26. June 1 price: $11.49

  • 123 beer products increased between five and 10 per cent.

    These include B.C. beers like a six-pack of Vancouver’s Bomber Brewing ESB (up 9.21 per cent).
    March 31 price: $ $9.88. June 1 price: $10.79

  • 74 beer products increased by more than 10 per cent.

    This includes B.C.-made beers like a bottle of Victoria’s Phillips Brewery Octofox (up 10.67 per cent).
    March 31 price: $4.78. June 1 price: $5.29

    A tall can of Kelowna’s Tree Brewery Thirsty Beaver (up 16.84 per cent)
    March 31 price: $1.96 June 1 price: $2.29

    a bottle of Penticton’s Cannery Blackberry Porter (up 20.13 per cent)
    March 31 price: $4.57 June 1 price: $5.49

Eby said only 19 beers stayed the same price, and only eight per cent of the products, primarily from outside B.C., like Budweiser and Coors Light, saw mild decreases.

“Increases in prices at government stores will be followed quickly by price increases at private stores,” said Eby, who noted the cost to purchase beer for both public and private retailers went up for many products effective April 1, the first day of the government’s new policy.

“The Attorney General’s promise that government could increase wholesale prices for retailers but that the retail price wouldn’t go up was always nonsense. British Columbia’s craft beer industry and beer fans generally are drinking a bitter brew of higher prices because of this government’s stealth beer tax,” said Eby.

“The updated pricing model is hugely disappointing for the consumer,” said Ari Dressler, President of the Campaign for Real Ale B.C. (CAMRA)

“The government is adding to its long list of failures after happy hour, supermarket sales, and so-called progressive reform,” said Dressler. “All these missteps show just how out of touch Suzanne Anton and her team truly are. This will have a negative impact on our booming craft industry.  Our vibrant craft beer community will pay more for no discernable reason other than a government cash grab.”

Beer pricing document attached