Saskatchewan

Wall and Notley at odds over beer policy

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says Alberta's new beer mark-up will cost the province's breweries but could come at a cost to Alberta liquor companies as well.

Premier Wall says province could retaliate if Alberta sticks with its price changes

The cost of these Great Western Brewing beer cans are set to rise in Alberta and Saskatchewan's Premier is not happy about it. (CBC)

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says Alberta's new beer mark-up will cost the province's beer makers but could come at a cost to Alberta liquor companies as well.

The new policy introduced by the Alberta government last week will charge brewers regardless of size $1.25 per litre. It will also offer grants to Alberta's smaller craft breweries to help stimulate the industry.

The Saskatchewan government called it offside and against the spirit of inter-provincial trade, estimating a 200 per cent cost increase for Saskatoon's Great Western Brewing.

"It's serious. You know, it's a huge amount of their income and who knows, potential jobs might be impacted," Wall said.

Phone tag

The issue has caused a back and forth between the two western premiers. On Tuesday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley suggested Premier Wall should pick up the phone.

"My experience over the last 13 months is that when there's a matter, pick up the phone and talk to your colleagues," Notley said.

"I will not be lectured about any efforts that our government might take in the future in order to support our small brewers, our economic diversification, our workers and our industries," said Notley.

Wall said his officials did contact their Alberta counterparts last week to discuss their concerns.

"I just want to be very clear. The call happened last week. There's nothing drive-by about this so I'm not sure where Premier Notley is coming from today," Wall said.

Potential repercussions for Alberta

Wall said if the policy and grant system go ahead on August 5, Saskatchewan could retaliate with its own measures.

"We'll have to look at options to help our industry and also we have to look at if they're going to go ahead with this," Wall said. 

"We'll have to look at Saskatchewan's interests and perhaps that could mean retaliating but that would be a last resort." 

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