Beer battle brewing between Saskatchewan and Alberta

A decision by Alberta's government to mark up costs for all beer makers has the Saskatchewan government unhappy.

Alberta set to increase beer cost to brewers to $1.25/litre

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

A decision by Alberta's government to mark up costs for beer makers has the Saskatchewan government unhappy.

Last week, Alberta liquor and gaming announced that as of Aug. 5, there will be a standard beer mark-up of $1.25 per litre regardless of company size, location, or level of production.

Saskatchewan's Minister of Liquor and Gaming, Don McMorris, said that is a 200 per cent increase for a company like Saskatoon's Great Western.

"We're not happy with this at all," McMorris said. "It is really, really unfortunate — it's the only province moving in this direction."

The proposed change will also see grants provided to small, Alberta-based producers to help stimulate craft breweries.

"If they (Alberta) proceed with this measure, we will have to explore all our options, including potentially re-examining the mark-ups on Alberta beer and other liquor products sold in Saskatchewan," McMorris said.

Wall to speak with Notley

The province said the mark-up goes against the spirit of the New West Partnership.

Premier Brad Wall is expected to raise the issue on Tuesday in Whitehorse with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

"We should all be looking for ways to reduce inter-provincial trade barriers, not raising them. So we hope the Alberta government will reconsider this ill-conceived policy," said McMorris.