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Alberta drops craft brew tax discount

Government will provide small brewers with a grant program instead

Alberta is dropping a beer markup that favoured western small breweries and will replace it with a grant program.

The NDP government said Tuesday that starting Aug. 5 it plans to charge the same $1.25 per litre beer markup for all beer, regardless of the size of the company or where the beer is made.

READ: Saskatchewan looks for new liquor store owners

It was only last October that the government announced it was lowering the markup on beer from smaller breweries in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia as part of the New West Partnership trade agreement with the three provinces.

At the time, the move drew praise from local breweries but was criticized by craft breweries in Eastern Canada as a protectionist move.

READ: First beer, now cider comes to Ontario supermarkets

But the Alberta Small Breweries Association is now welcoming the level playing field between provinces and hopes other provinces will drop trade barriers on Alberta breweries as well.

Terry Rock, executive director of the association, said he was happy with the news and expects the grant program to make up for the higher beer markup on craft breweries.

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