B.C. Liberals second guess their own decision to raise craft beer prices

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VICTORIA — It’s not surprise that the B.C. Liberals are second guessing themselves after their policy changes caused the price of craft beer to spike, says B.C New Democrat liquor spokesperson David Eby.

“Craft beer is an important and growing industry in British Columbia that needs to be supported. The Attorney General’s changes have essentially introduced a new craft beer tax that hurts these small businesses and this growing industry,” said Eby. “The breweries are not receiving a penny more from the Liquor Distribution Branch despite consumers paying as much as 10 or even 20 per cent more for some craft beer products.”

Industry leaders and the New Democrats warned the government that their policy change to the wholesale price system would increase prices, but the B.C. Liberals pressed ahead with the change. Prices spiked shortly after, causing craft brewers to initiate a series of meetings with their local MLAs over the last two months.

Following those meetings, Minister of Transportation Todd Stone promised “I can assure craft brewers inside and outside of Kamloops that government’s intention is to fix this,” and Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Reform John Yap is conducting what the Attorney General calls a “granular” review of the impact of her policy changes on B.C.’s craft beer industry, but the Attorney General still won’t admit her policy caused prices to go up.

“Higher prices for consumers, and countless reversals and failures in B.C. Liberal liquor policy reform, are due to a failure by the Attorney General to listen to the warnings from B.C.’s hospitality industry, liquor retailing industry, and liquor, beer and wine producers,” said Eby. “We’re only three months into the changes, and they’re already scrambling to fix problems that were entirely predictable, if they’d just listened to industry in the first place.”