Saskatchewan

Alberta beer hike unfair, Saskatoon's Great Western Brewing says

Michael Micovcin, the CEO of Saskatoon's Great Western Brewery is weighing in on the Alberta-Saskatchewan beer dispute — and he's not happy.

Price increase puts Saskatchewan breweries at competitive disadvantage, CEO says

Changes to beer mark-up are spilling into Saskatchewan and the provincial government says it will cost brewers like Saskatoon's Great Western. (CBC)

The CEO of Saskatoon's Great Western Brewing is weighing in on the Alberta-Saskatchewan beer dispute — and he's not happy.

In order to raise about $36 million a year in additional revenue, Alberta is hiking the markup on beer — a move Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has strongly criticized.

Until now, small brewers from Saskatchewan and B.C. that sell in Alberta have received a preferential markup, but on Aug. 5, that changes.

We're disappointed and a little bit shocked.- Great Western Brewing CEO Michael Micovcin

On that date, the markup will go to a flat rate of $1.25 per litre, representing a 78-cent-a-litre increase to Great Western products.

It means a six-pack that currently sells for $11 in Alberta will soon cost about $12.66. For a case of 24, the increase would be around $6.65. 

Meanwhile, small Alberta breweries will get a subsidy, which Great Western CEO Michael Micovcin says puts his company at a competitive disadvantage.

Beer dispute headed for premier's conference

Because some 60 per cent of Great Western's business is done next door in Alberta, it's a concern, Micovcin said.

Great Western Brewing Co. CEO Michael Micovcin says the coming beer price hikes in Alberta will put his company at a competitive disadvantage. (CBC News)
"We're disappointed and a little bit shocked," he told Saskatoon Morning host Leisha Grebinski.

"There's been so much discussion, both federally and provincially, about eliminating interprovincial trade barriers, and this seems to go completely against the grain."

Micovcin is hoping the Saskatchewan and Alberta premiers can sort things out at this week's premiers' conference.

Beer is expected to be a topic of discussion with the premiers today in Whitehorse.

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