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

MATHIEU POIRIER: Exciting changes in store for Great Canadian Beer Fest

Annual celebration of craft beer expands to include more breweries from around the country

BEHIND BARS: Tag team ‘tenders driving the Barts’ bar

Matt Chaffe and Curtis Kidd keep locals and tourists cool during the summer season downtown

Roller skating fever taking over Greater Victoria

Roller Skate Victoria offers workshops, summer camps and more

Learn about a life of luxury at Victoria’s historic Point Ellice House

New political exhibit part of grand reopening at the House this weekend, July 20-21

World of electronic musical wonders await at long weekend festival

Wonderment ambient/downtempo music festival slips into bridge plaza, Banfield Park Aug. 3-4

VIDEO: Reports say Lashana Lynch is the new 007

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond one last time

Esquimalt Ribfest in need of volunteers for September weekend

The three-day celebration of barbecue, music and more happens Sept. 6 to 8

Fashionable ode to the sea goes Friday at Fort Common

Local sustainable fashion retailers to strut their latest as part of ocean conservation fundraiser

Brentwood Bay brings $5 concerts every Wednesday evening

Variety of music on offer: picnics, good vibes and family friendly

Schitt’s Creek and its stars among Canadians with Emmy nominations

Co-creator Eugene Levy thought they had chance for one nomination, ‘then they kept rolling in’

Most Read