Debate is expected to begin today on legalizing brew-it-yourself businesses in Nova Scotia, but the Liberal government pledge to relax the province's liquor laws is coming up against objections from public health officials.
Under the proposed legislation, smaller retailers would be able to make wine and beer inside stores.
"We need to make it legal, we need to pass the law," says Finance Minister Diana Whalen, who is responsible for the Liquor Control Act.
But public health officials are worried about a boom in U-Vint and U-Brew business and the increased flow of cheap beer and wine.
They have urged a levy be imposed on beer and wine kits to make per-bottle costs comparable to what’s bought in a liquor store.
"Whatever source people are obtaining alcohol from, the cost is certainly an issue," says Dr. Frank Atherton, the province’s deputy chief medical health officer.
Whalen has refused to add a levy and dismisses health concerns. She said people who make their own wine and beer are hobbyists who aren’t intent on drinking too much.
"I don't think that this hobby is going to be abused in any way,” she said.