Rebellion Brewing is making a case for craft beer. The company’s vice-president Mark Heise said their business is booming, and it wants the province to make changes to the craft beer industry, sooner rather than later.
Rebellion currently produces close to 3,000 hectolitres per year, which is enough beer to fill 6,000 50 litre kegs. They’re currently classified as a micro-brewery.
“It’s a very small industry. We’re going to see rapid growth.”
If sold directly by the manufacturer, the production levy for micro-breweries is $0.17 per litre, with a maximum of 5,000 hectolitres.
For Rebellion Brewing, once that threshold is met, the tax mark-up rate increases to $1.94 per litre.
Heise said it’s a tax the micro-brewery can’t afford.
“If we go up to the 5,000 limit, our tax is $85,000, that’s in addition to all the other taxes we pay. If we go above that, we’d be looking at a million dollars,” Heise explained.
Two weeks ago at a press conference, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) announced it was removing some barriers to Saskatchewan’s craft wine and distillery industry.
Heise said he’s now waiting on the province to make similar changes for his industry.
SLGA spokesperson David Morris said the regulator has been working very closely with industry leaders. They plan to make an announcement relating to those changes sometime next month.
Morris explained the delays are due to a recent change in Alberta’s beer markup.
In July, the Wild Rose province announced it would be taxing all beer, regardless of size, location or level of production.
“Alberta’s made changes to their markup. Saskatchewan craft brewers are very concerned about that change to the beer mark up so SLGA is working on a solution to that, so that’s what the delay,” Morris explained.
“The minister has indicated that changes are coming. We just want to work on this issue related to this first.”