A local craft brewery is fighting back against a 30 per cent tax hike on refillable beer bottles that’s set to take effect on April 1st.
The tax increase being implemented by the province will apply to all refillable beer bottles. The most popular product to take a hit will be growlers, 64-ounce bottles which craft breweries typically use as cost-effective vessels for their beer.
The discount on growlers, which can be attributed to less transportation, delivery and packaging, will be challenging for breweries to offer once the “growler” tax is implemented.
A non-profit organization based in Vancouver, the Campaign for Real Ale Society of British Columbia, has started a petition called Save the Growler.
The petition states that “the Provincial Government has decided to jack up the tax on growler refills,” and that the spearheading organization “considers this a direct tax on craft beer and in particular the smaller breweries that rely on growler sales and have contributed to its renaissance.”
The tax increase will be applied because the Liquor Distribution Board decided to reclassify growler bottles from its “draught” status to “packaged”, meaning the big bottles are now subject to the same tax as a box of beer.
“What’s unfair in my opinion about that is that now it’s considered packaged, yet now you can’t sell it in a retail liquor store like any other packaged beverages,” said Arrowhead Brewery co-owner Leanne Tegart.
Among the many benefits offered by growlers, Mrs. Tegart is most disappointed that small breweries will be disadvantaged in selling an environmentally friendly product.
“It has a very small carbon footprint — you ship them here once from the manufacturers and then there’s no more need to transport or process the glass bottles, she said. “You buy a growler once for $6 and you’re in the club. The environmental impact is so minor.”
And for breweries operating close to provincial borders, the new tax adds another hurdle to the competitive industry.
“It’s pretty difficult to explain to a big part of our clientele who are coming from Alberta,” she said.
If you would like to represent your name in demanding the BC government to “remove the discriminatory new “Growler Tax” on craft beer,” a petition can be found at Arrowhead Brewery, or online by visiting camravancouver.ca .