Alberta liquor prices cheap as any, say store owners
Liquor retailers in Alberta are dismissing a report which says alcohol is cheaper in the government run stores of British Columbia and Saskatchewan.
A price comparison of beer, wine and spirits in the three provinces, B.C.’s private stores had the highest price on 11 of 13 products surveyed, while Alberta’s private stores were the second costliest, concluded the survey by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute.
Saskatchewan and British Columbia’s public stores had the lowest prices among the 13 products surveyed, said the report.
Adam Koziak says his prices at the Ottewell liquor store in Edmonton stack up well against the public stores in neighbouring provinces.
"I have people coming in from Saskatchewn and BC stocking up on stuff," he said.
Koziak's Crown Royal rye whisky goes for a dollar cheaper than the prices listed for B.C. and Saskatchewan in the report.
He thinks the authors should have compared prices of more than just 15 different wines and beer.
And privatization has other benefits, Koziak said.
"The selection in my store destroys any store in BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and I'm probably a quarter of the size they are."
Customers would not want to return to the days of public liquor stores when Alberta had 209 stores which closed at 6 o'clock and not open at all on Sundays, said Ivonne Martinez, president of the Alberta Liquor Store Association.
The report's authors admit the study is small and non-scientific, and accept there are deals out there for people willing to put in the time and effort to find them.
The report also suggests that since privatization, Alberta has forgone nearly $1.5 billion in tax revenue. In contrast Saskatchewan’s per capita liquor revenue has increased over the same time period, it said.