New Brunswick

NB Liquor growler purchase earns taxpayer waste award nomination

NB Liquor’s initial foray into the growler business has earned it a nomination for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation annual government waste awards.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation listed NB Liquor's growler program among its nominees for government waste

A NB Liquor employee pours craft beer into a corporate growler. NB Liquor’s initial foray into the growler business earned it a nomination for a government waste award from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. (CBC)

NB Liquor’s purchase of 40,000 growlers earned it a nomination for a Canadian Taxpayers Federation award for government waste.

The Crown corporation decided last fall to begin selling craft beer from selected stores and as a part of the new initiative NB Liquor spent $124,210 to purchase 40,000 of the 1.89-litre beer jugs.

Growler sales were flat and as of mid-December, NB Liquor had only sold 2,718 of the bottles at $10 each.

Aaron Wudrick, the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, announced the award winners and nominees for the annual government waste awards on Wednesday.

"We’re tough on all government waste, but sometimes the best way to strike a nerve is to tell some of the most absurd stories," said Wudrick.

Sadly, the capacity for government to dream up new ways to waste money seems infinite.- Aaron Wudrick, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

"And sadly, the capacity for government to dream up new ways to waste money seems infinite."

NB Liquor had initially intended beer drinkers to purchase the $10 bottles so they could fill them up at its three growler stations. But many customers balked because they already had their own growlers and NB Liquor ended up removing the requirement to purchase its growlers.

The growler program is set to be reviewed this month, when NB Liquor will decide whether it should continue. There will also be conversations about how to start moving the surplus of empty growlers.

NB Liquor said it was planning to organize promotional activities, where the corporation's growlers will be given away.

In December, Kevin Lacey, the Atlantic Canada director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said NB Liquor’s growler purchase shows it’s an out-of-touch government agency.

"It’s a symbol of a bigger issue," Lacey said.

"If they can’t manage this, then what else can’t they manage?"

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation handed out its 17th annual Teddy Government Waste Awards in Ottawa on Wednesday.

The provincial winner was Ontario’s Ministry of Energy for its smart meters controversy.

The NB Liquor growler purchase was nominated by the watchdog group in the provincial category.

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