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

Fire-ravaged North Saanich restaurant not likely to re-open until spring

Voicemail greeting from owner of Deep Cove Chalet thanks those who have reached out after Oct. 28 kitchen fire

Extreme case of poop-throwing gives Victoria bike community a bad name

Car centric roads and infrastructure invite cyclist-motorist incidents, says cycling coalition

ICBC warns shoppers of the high-accident season at mall parking lots

Over 150,000 accidents happened during the holiday season last year

Woman thrown from mobility scooter in downtown Sidney collision

Pickup truck attempting a right turn struck woman in crosswalk

Greater Victoria hotels named best in Canada

Beacon Inn at Sidney ranks third in 3-star category, Magnolia and Abigail’s also named

VIDEO: Two officers of B.C. Legislature escorted out amid investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Good Food Summit plants seeds for food security

The Good Food Summit runs Nov. 22 and 23

Awards will recognize business excellence on Vancouver Island

Nomination period begins for Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards

Shirtless stranger loomed over couch and started stabbing, bloody B.C. murder trial hears

Colin John pleads not guilty as trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder case

Late 2019 too long to wait for ridesharing: B.C. Conservatives

“While the rest of the world is embracing this transportation revolution, B.C. is only now staggering slowly toward legislation on a business model that’s been mainstreamed for over a decade in other jurisdictions.”

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Students protest Starbucks’ supplanting local coffee at UVic

The Finnerty Express’s and their Salt Spring Island coffee supplanted by Fall 2019

No deal in sight: Canada Post warns of delivery delays into January

Union holds fifth week of rotating strikes as both sides remain apart on contract negotiations

COLUMN: Higher interest rates will slow B.C. economy after ‘unusually robust’ show

Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

Most Read