I had wanted to write a reflective piece today about stepping down as CAMRA Fraser Valley president after 2 years on the exec, but Warren Bowyer from the BC exec came along to our AGM at Mission Springs brew-pub and made us aware of the new “Growler Tax”. In short this will raise the price of a growler fill at a small brewery (under 15,000 hectolitre production) or brew-pub by about $1 (and change) in the province of British Columbia.
Now I hear you cry that that this is a small increase, why bother complaining about it when gas prices are sky-rocketing and the cost of this or that are at an all time high? Well, we in British Columbia have some of the highest taxes on alcohol in the developed world, we are treated like naughty, irresponsible children who have to have their candy consumption limited by raising the prices to keep overeating out of financial reach! Having managed a few liquor stores both here and in London UK, I can say that those who choose to over drink to the point of alcoholism will not be buying craft beer, and they are unlikely to be visiting nano-breweries to fill up their growlers with the latest Imperial stout or cardamom infused saison.
This tax is yet another burden having to be carried by small, independent breweries, who already have the deck stacked against them with the spurious tactics of the large domestic brands, as well as the government taxing them at every turn from the licence application up to the point the beer touches the consumers tongue. Randy Shore in The Vancouver Sun recently told a tale of a small industry on the up (here) and BC is now punching its weight alongside the craft beer meccas of Oregon and Washington.
So why is the provincial government so keen to put a tax shaped bump in the road, just when we seem to be really getting the beer ball rolling at speed? Well, the answer lies in the question. They see an industry growing and flourishing and want to get their extra tax in before it grows too large and can more easily gather their forces to oppose such a tax.
It is time to say enough is enough. We draw the line in the sand here, and we will oppose this tax hike!
Please sign the online petition here to Save The Growler!
Following are links to your local CAMRA branch who are spearheading the fight, and were instrumental in getting this information out to the craft beer loving public.
CAMRA BC (the umbrella organisation for the province)