Craft beer prices to soar in B.C., says NDP

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Expect to see the prices of your favourite local craft brews go up now that the province has changed the way retailers purchase liquor.

In an attempt to even out wholesale prices across the board, private and government liquor stores will now purchase alcohol at a “significantly higher price than they used to” according to the NDP’s David Eby.

He says craft beer will be most affected by this because they have tight profit margins and are already expensive to begin with because they use higher quality ingredients.

“What you’re seeing is them passing those increased costs on to consumers. The Liberal government passed along an edict to public liquor stores telling them not to increase prices, but they’re going to have to change them by the end of the year, otherwise they won’t make money.”

The provincial government announced the changes back in April. They came into effect on June 1, and Eby says we are already seeing the impact on craft beer prices.

“We saw major increases in the price of craft beers, sometimes even as much as a $1 more for a six pack.”

He thinks consumers will start buying from large breweries in an attempt to save a little cash, and that’s bad news for local companies.

“We already saw our first bankruptcy in a major craft brewer in anyone’s memory given the explosive growth of the industry. R&B Brewing went under and it’s my opinion that it was directly related to the government’s changes.” (Eby contacted Vancity Buzz to let us know that his statement was inaccurate, and that R&B Brewing went under before the government changes.)

“The industry is fragile. It’s like a baby plant, it’s vulnerable. So shocks in the market like this could shut down a number of businesses that are trying to get going.”

Eby adds the NDP would like to see the Liberal government go back to the old pricing system or open a discussion about alternative options.

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Lauren Sundstrom Lauren is a Staff Writer and Projects Assistant at Vancity Buzz. She is a graduate of BCIT's Broadcast and Online Journalism program. She loves reporting on breaking news and lifestyle content. If you feel like you have a story that needs to be told, fire her a tweet.
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