Craft liquor and beer coming to Alberta farmers markets

Craft Alberta liquor and beer should be available at farmers markets by mid-month. "Cottage" wine has been sold at approved farmers markets since 2008.

'Cottage' wine has been sold in markets since 2008

Finance Minister Joe Ceci announces changes to policy on the sale of Alberta craft liquor and beer in farmers markets. (CBC)

Craft Alberta liquor and beer should be available at farmers markets by mid-month.

Minister of Finance Joe Ceci made the announcement about the upcoming changes to liquor policy at the Bridgeland Riverside Farmers Market on Thursday afternoon.

Alberta's small brewers and distillers will be able to register and sell their products at farmers and artisan markets throughout Alberta starting Aug. 15. It will be up to the individual market organizers to decide which producers will be selling at their markets.

"Cottage" wine has been sold at approved farmers markets since 2008.

"This opportunity is especially important to the smallest producers who would appreciate being able to garner attention in the local community and expose their products to new customers," Ceci said.

Tastings will also be allowed at markets.

There will be a single manufacturing licence for producers, so wineries, brew pubs and breweries won't need an additional licence to slightly shift their focus, Ceci said.

"This practical change cuts red tape," he said.

Acting president of the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission says he doesn't have any concerns about products ending up in the hands of under-aged Albertans.

"Cottage wineries in Alberta have been at farmers markets for about 10 years now and we haven't had any problems," said Alain Maisonneuve.

"Whether in a farmers market or in a pub, or a bar, or a restaurant, your servers have been trained and that will continue."