SASKATOON, Oct. 18, 2016 /CNW/ - The Great Western Brewing Company (GWBC) has filed a court action seeking to have the Government of Alberta's recent 166% mark-up increase on its beer declared unconstitutional.

In August, the Alberta government raised the mark-up rate for all brewers to $1.25/litre ($5.33 per 12/case). This compares to Great Western's previous rate of $0.47 cents/litre ($2.00 per 12/case). At the same time, a provincial rebate program was implemented for beer brewed and sold in Alberta to offset the increased mark-up on Alberta brewers.

GWBC believes the new mark-up rate and rebate program contravene the Constitution Act, which prohibits protectionist taxes or tariffs from stemming the free flow of goods between provinces.

"We are seeking an order declaring the mark-up and rebate policy unconstitutional," said Great Western CEO Michael Micovcin. "At a time when Alberta's economy is hurting, this policy not only hikes the price of beer, but it's also a huge barrier to new investment and job creation."

In December of 2015, Steam Whistle Brewing challenged the Alberta government's previous mark-up rate of $1.25 per litre on beer produced beyond BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Court of Queen's Bench granted an injunction to prevent the government from applying the new beer tax to Steam Whistle's products pending a determination of its validity.

According to Micovcin, "this new mark-up policy and rebate program is just a thinly veiled attempt to circumvent the previous court challenge". "We are simply asking the court to take action to ensure there is freedom and fairness in the Alberta marketplace for both consumers and producers."

Micovcin said that GWBC hopes all provinces, including Alberta, will look to lower barriers to interprovincial trade, which hinder economic growth and hurts consumers.



SOURCE Great Western Brewing Company

Great Western Brewing Company

CONTACT: please contact: Michael Micovcin, President & CEO, Great Western Brewing Company, (306) 261-6456, michaelm@gwbc.ca