SASKATOON, June 20, 2018 /CNW/ - The Great Western Brewery Company (GWBC) today welcomed a ruling in the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench that found the Government of Alberta's current beer mark-up regime is unconstitutional.
"We are pleased the court ruled in favour of free and open trade between provinces," said Michael Brennan, GWBC's President and CEO. "This is good news for our brewery, it's good news for our employees and it's good news for Alberta consumers who will ultimately benefit from lower beer prices and greater selection."
In August 2016, the Alberta government raised the mark-up rate on beer produced by all brewers to $1.25/litre or $5.33 per 12/case. In the case of GWBC this represented a 166% increase to its mark-up, increasing the price of GWBC beer by over $3.00 per 12/case overnight. At the same time, a provincial rebate program was implemented for Alberta small brewers, to offset the increased mark-up. The mark-up and rebate provided Alberta small brewers with a competitive price advantage over small brewers in other provinces, including GWBC.
In October 2016, GWBC filed a court action in the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench seeking to have the August 2016 mark-up declared unconstitutional. GWBC successfully argued the new mark-up rate and rebate program contravenes s. 121 of the Constitution Act, which prohibits protectionist taxes or tariffs from stemming the free flow of goods between provinces.
The court ruling suspended the effect of the judgement for six months to allow the AGLC the time to pass a new beer mark-up policy.
"Great Western welcomes the opportunity to put this court case behind us and to reinvigorate our business in Alberta," said Brennan. "We look forward to a new beer mark-up structure that will be fair and equitable to all brewers."
SOURCE Great Western Brewing Company
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