Vancouver, BC – The Campaign for Real Ale Society of British Columbia has learned that on April 13, the BC Liquor Distribution Board intends to raise by 30% the sales tax on beer sold by breweries directly to consumers via refillable bottles, known as growlers.
According to information obtained by Vancouver beer blogger, Paddy Treavor, the LDB “determined that Growlers, both the first fill and all refills, should be subject to the [higher] packaged beer mark-up rate because they are packaged for customer consumption off-site.”
“This appears to be a bureaucratic attempt to fit a square peg in a round hole,” said Rick Green, President of CAMRA BC. “Rather than consider the unique nature of growlers, the LDB only seems to be able to treat beer as either draught or packaged.”
Public use of growlers has grown in popularity recently because they are a more economical alternative to retail products, consumers can purchase the freshest craft beer available, and they significantly reduce waste from packaging.
Adam Chatburn, President of CAMRA BC – Vancouver Chapter said, “The fact that this tax targets smaller craft brewers who have invested heavily in growlers and growler filling equipment is particularly unfair. It’s hypocritical for a government purporting to support green initiatives to punish consumers and small businesses for pursuing environmentally responsible behaviour.”
CAMRA BC is strongly opposed to the LDB’s misguided interpretation of growlers and has begun to campaign for the rescinding of this tax increase.
A growler is a reusable vessel that the public can take to a brewery taproom or brewpub to have filled directly with beer made on-site. Growlers have existed for over a hundred years (see http://ow.ly/i9xy1). Today, they are an established part of craft beer culture, particularly in the Pacific Northwest (see http://ow.ly/i9xBu).
The Campaign for Real Ale Society of British Columbia is an independent, voluntary, consumer organization. Incorporated in 1985, it is dedicated to the promotion and responsible consumption of natural, craft beers. With chapters in Vancouver, Victoria, and the Fraser Valley, CAMRA BC advocates for consumer rights, promotes education, and supports community.
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President, CAMRA BC