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Thread: Alberta vs Sasktachewan Beer Laws

  1. #1

    Default Alberta vs Sasktachewan Beer Laws

    Thought I'd start a thread on the Alberta beer laws to come in effect August 1, and the politics surrounding it (Brad Wall's comments).

    Posting a response from local beer guy Jason Foster on the differences between Alberta and Saskatchewan beer laws:

    "Alberta breweries have over the years applied to enter the Saskatchewan market but have had their applications denied. No reason provided." - Alberta's beer expert, Jason Foster, weighs in on Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall's recent comments directed at our province."

    (Apologies if there is already a thread on this somewhere, couldn't find one.)

  2. #2


    Its an interesting topic.

    As I understand it, Alberta has in the past subsidized all small brewers by charging a lower tax.

    Now the tax will be the same regardless of size. However, Alberta brewers will get a kick back (but not brewers of other provinces).

    So, I guess the change does result in a subsidy to Alberta craft brewers ahead of craft brewers in other provinces, but I'm not sure I have a problem with that, there is nothing to stop other provinces from providing a subsidy. And, as noted in the article above, its not like other Provinces have very fair systems.

  3. #3
    C2E Hard Core Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2014


    Brad Wall showing his fake conservative populist colours in full force. He doesn't care about a level playing field, he just wants his own special deal.

  4. #4
    C2E Continued Contributor
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Edmonton, AB


    This is a good breakdown of Saskatchewan's current system. (The blog is totally neutral, covers craft brewing across all of the prairies)

    These are the facts as I understand them:

    1) Saskatchewan has a mostly public liquor retail system (for now). There are a handful of private stores that have the right to order product directly, but the bulk of beer sold in Saskatchewan is through the SLGA.
    2) Saskatchewan does not have an open border like Alberta’s. All applications to import beer into the province must be vetted through an SLGA buyer, who has the final decision on whether the beer will be approved for sale or not. The buyer has full discretion on whether to accept or reject the application. They are not required to inform the applicant of the reasons for their decision.
    3) Alberta breweries have over the years applied to enter the Saskatchewan market but have had their applications denied. No reason provided.
    4) If accepted, the SLGA takes control over the product. They determine which stores it goes into and have a complex set of pricing rules to which brewers must comply. Saskatchewan also has a Social Reference Price – a minimum price for retail – applied to all beer sold in the province. They also apply a “high alcohol surcharge” for beer over 9% alcohol.
    5) Saskatchewan does have a tiered mark-up system, oddly set up by packaging (draught has a lower rate than bottles/cans). The lowest rate is $.66/$.98 (keg/package) per litre. This ends at 5000HL. The middle rate is $1.313/$1.842 per litre. Above 200,000 HL the full rate of $1.463/1.993 per litre applies. This rate is applied to all beer sold in the province, regardless of origin.
    6) The SLGA currently lists 571 beer SKUs available in the province (keep in mind this includes various packaging options of the same beer). Alberta lists 4,591.
    What to make of this? A few things jump out at me.
    Brad Wall is crying on and on about a tax hike on SK brewers, meanwhile Saskatchewan has a complete monopoly over distribution, that limits consumer choice, and keeps Alberta beer off the shelf, all while charging higher mark-ups on most brewers than the proposed Alberta system. How conservative of him. Yes it is the system he inherited, but he has been premier for almost a decade.

  5. #5


    Banjo picking inbreds.

    - Troy Westwood
    Let's make Edmonton better.


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