B.C.'s move to stimulate the growth of small craft breweries is welcome news.
The break will allow small breweries, such as Kelowna's Big Surf, Tree and others to expand without immediately paying the same taxes major beer producers face.
Previously, as soon as a small brewer began producing more than 160,000 hectolitres of beer, it would automatically pay the same tax rate on all its product as mammoth breweries like Molson and Labatt's.
That seemed more like a disincentive to grow your business and protection of the big boys' near monopoly.
Now, taxes will increase incrementally with output, jumping in 5,000 hectolitre steps.
Not only is it a more fair policy, it makes it easier for small B.C. businesses to grow. That will create jobs, boost the economy and provide a lift to the craft beer niche. The move could also increase tourism, just as growth in the wine industry has done for the Okanagan.
But the announcement was not without its detractors.
The big players cried foul, suggesting minister Rich Coleman was playing favourites with Prince George's Pacific Western Brewing, which has contributed heavily to his election campaigns.
But even the NDP agreed the change was a good move for B.C.
Coleman also did the right thing by returning trips to the Caribbean worth $27,000 that Pacific Western had offered as Liberal fundraisers.
Why should the small fry pay the same tax rate as giant breweries?
The move just makes sense.
- Managing Editor