Beer prices increase in New Brunswick

A 12-pack of domestic beer in bottles or cans costs 50 cents more after a price hike in New Brunswick on Monday.

NB Liquor says 12-pack of domestic beer in bottles or cans costs 50 cents more


The price of beer has jumped in New Brunswick.

NB Liquor quietly increased the price of a 12-pack of domestic canned and bottled beer by 50 cents on Monday, including its discount brands.

"We offer the suppliers a chance to raise their price, but we don't collect any extra markup due to that, it's more to cover their costs," said spokesperson Marcelle Saulnier.

The price hike comes despite another year of poor beer sales in the province — a problem caused, in part, by already high prices.

For example, NB Liquor's annual reports show that over the past six years, the price it charges for bottled, canned and kegged beer has jumped an average of 11.7 per cent per litre, not including this week's jump.

Meanwhile, the numbers of litres sold in the province has dropped by 8.2 per cent during the same period.

Just last month, the Crown corporation's new CEO Brian Harriman, had said there are ways to bring in more revenue without raising prices on booze.

Harriman, who was hired away from Diageo, a global company that sells many well-known brands, such as Guinness and Captain Morgan, told CBC News he thought NB Liquor could bring in more sales through other means.

“I think we can through product mix … We can help consumers learn and understand more about spirits, more about wine, and find ways to stabilize the beer category, and get a bigger product mix in the basket," said Harriman, the first head of the Crown corporation hired through a non-political, outside recruitment process.

"There's probably a bigger opportunity to do it without necessarily driving price increases."

Three years ago, in his first budget, Finance Minister Blaine Higgs called on NB Liquor to improve its profit margin.

"We're relying on their creativity and ingenuity to do that," he had said.

But beer sales have plunged 12,000 litres a day in New Brunswick since then.