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

Plans for Bugnut property delayed

Plans to built an outdoor social pavilion at the downtown location of… Continue reading

Coyne “overwhelmed” with certain mayoral victory

Spencer Coyne asked Princeton to “Vote for Change.” And it did. The… Continue reading

Complete turnover of leadership in Princeton municipal election

Princeton voters sent a clear message Saturday, with a possibly-record breaking turnout… Continue reading

Princeton election still has hours to go

It’s been a long election night in Princeton - and it’s going… Continue reading

Vote could be de facto referendum on pool and trail

Voters in Princeton were lined up out the door of the Legion… Continue reading

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

VOTE: Nature in Focus reader’s choice photo contest

The Penticton Western News Reader’s Choice photo contest

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

World Junior Hockey fever hits Vernon

Vipers spice up floor ball demonstration at OK Landing School

Shuswap refugee family settles into new, more hopeful life

Father of 10th Syrian family to come to Salmon Arm says learning English, work, top priorities

RCMP seek missing Vernon man

Michael Ramsey, 49, was last seen Oct. 21

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

Most Read