Unfair beer markup: Judge orders Alberta to pay out-of-province breweries $2M

Alberta booze markup basically a tax, argued lawyers.


CALGARY — A judge has ruled the Alberta government’s markup policy on craft beer is unconstitutional.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Gillian Marriott has awarded Toronto-based Steam Whistle Brewing and Great Western Brewing Co. of Saskatoon more than $2 million.

Lawyers for the companies had argued the Alberta markup is basically a tax.

The government charges all small breweries $1.25 per litre sold, but returns much of that to Alberta producers as a grant.

The province argued it has the right to support its small breweries.

Marriott says in her decision that the markup discriminates between craft brewers on the basis of provincial origin, which creates an unfair trade barrier.

The Canadian Press

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