Minhas bottles first gluten-free brew in Calgary despite rumored tax increases

- Alberta's first gluten-free beer, Lazy Mutt Gluten Free, released
- Government eyes tax changes to affect small & medium-sized brewers

CALGARY, Oct. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Despite rumours of upheaval in the provincial beer market, Albertans looking for a locally-made, and great tasting, gluten-free beer can toast the release of Lazy Mutt Gluten Free, now rolling off the bottling line at the Minhas Micro Brewery in northeast Calgary. It will be available on site at the Minhas Micro Brewery, exported for sale in the U.S. and available in liquor stores across the province starting early next week.

Lazy Mutt Gluten Free was created with Alberta ingredients and Alberta employees to offer a barley-and-wheat-free lager to persons with Celiac Disease and other health-conscious consumers — one of the food industry's fastest-growing demographics.

"It's great news. We're all looking for the same thing: good gluten-free options," says Kathy Collier, program coordinator of the Canadian Celiac Association's Calgary chapter.

Lazy Mutt Gluten Free is more affordable than imported alternatives, in part due to the Government of Alberta's innovative graduated tax mark-up rates for small and medium-sized brewers. This system helped make the Minhas Micro Brewery become reality after a decade of planning and 18 months of construction. Minhas Micro Brewery now employs 75 Albertans dedicated to creating, producing and marketing quality craft beer at affordable prices.

The markup system was implemented in 2002 to help encourage diversity in a market where more than 80% of beer sales are still dominated by two multinational corporations. Recent reports suggest new rules will be drafted — for the ninth time in ten years.

"If the rumoured changes are executed, it could have a severely negative impact in terms of our ability to compete with the duopoly, employ Albertans and offer consumers choice. We believe that's exactly what the 'big boys' want," says company president Ravinder Minhas.

Minhas notes all beer drinkers benefit from the current plan, as the current system creates price competition and selection.

"We hate to think those small brewers might be financially penalized in Alberta and that prices in all beer categories could rise," says Minhas.

SOURCE: Minhas Micro Brewery

For further information:

Ravinder Minhas, President - (403)875.3535  Ravinder@MinhasBrewery.com