Start-up brewing company daunted by new NB Liquor rules

New regulations with the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation will make it more difficult for at least one start-up brewery to get their licence.

N.B. breweries are now required to sell 10,000 litres of brew at NB Liquor stores before opening

Mitch Biggar received a letter this week from NB Liquor saying he must sell 10,000 litres of brew through their stores before selling his beer in the province. (CBC)

New regulations with the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation will make it more difficult for at least one start-up brewery to get its licence.

Railcar Brewing Company in Florenceville-Bristol may have to close its doors before it even opens.

Mitch Biggar has been preparing for months to open his own micro-brewery later this summer.

However a letter from NB Liquor earlier this week informed him that if he wants to sell his beer in the province, he needs to sell 10,000 litres of his brew at NB Liquor stores first. 

“A lot of stress, I've got a lot of my own personal complete retirement savings invested in the company,” said Biggar.

“Basically I have to give every drop and sell it through the corporation first. So we just don't have the financial means right now to do that.”

NB Liquor told CBC News it feels selling 10,000 litres in its stores is a manageable amount for breweries. 

It will definitely require a lot of investment going forward to start a brewery in the province-Mitch Biggar, owner of Railcar Brewing Company

But it also said NB Liquor will meet with stakeholders, including Railcar Brewing Company, to determine appropriate actions on a case-by-case basis.

Biggar said he's not the only one in the community who will be affected by the new regulations.

“It could really be a thorn in anybody's side starting up,” he said. “It will definitely require a lot of investment going forward to start a brewery in the province.”

A petition in Florenceville-Bristol with almost 200 supporters has been started to allow microbreweries with applications into the province to "sell beer on-site to the public for consumption off-site to proceed under the old regulations in place when the application was made."

Biggar has a meeting scheduled with the president of NB Liquor next week.

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