March 14, 2019 8:42 pm
Updated: March 15, 2019 7:19 am

Saskatoon brewery Great Western criticizes ‘automatic’ tax hikes on beer

Great Western Brewing Company CEO Michael Brennan said the federal excise tax accounts for one-third of the cost of a typical can of beer.

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Saskatoon’s Great Western Brewing Company (GWBC) is criticizing the federal excise tax on beer, saying it hurts the industry in Canada.

Beer prices may rise on April 1 with federal beer taxes set to increase for the third time in 24 months.

READ MORE: Great Western expanding product line into the U.S.


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GWBC president and CEO Michael Brennan said they will pay $274,000 more this year than the company did just two years ago, on the exact same sales volume.

“Canadian federal taxes on beer are, on average, almost 53 per cent higher today than in the United States, and the federal government keeps pushing prices up year after year after year,” Brennan said in a press release.

The federal tax accounts for one-third of the cost of a typical can of beer in Saskatchewan while production and aluminum comprise the other two-thirds, according to GWBC.

READ MORE: Canadian breweries take on Alberta government’s beer tax

Brennan said the “automatic” tax hikes make it harder for brewers to invest in their employees, products and businesses.

“Our brewery wants to make capital investments to improve production that will, in turn, have positive benefits in our community, but higher taxes hinder that,” Brennan said.

“These federal taxes are too rigid and impact not just our competitiveness, but the industry’s competitiveness as a whole.”

GWBC is calling for a repeal of the automatic annual escalator on the tax ahead of next week’s federal budget.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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