Axe the beer tax

Brewers in Canada say its time for the federal government to stop taking half the glass.

Beer Canada, a lobby group that represents 90 per cent of Canadian breweries, is engaging the consumer in a campaign to halt an automatic increase in the excise tax April 1.

"It's escalating without any consultation and not just this one time, but every year by two per cent, and we already have among the highest beer taxes in the world," said Stefan Tobler brewmaster at Vernon's Okanagan Spring Brewery.

The Conference Board of Canada reports in 2016 the economic contribution beer makes each year in Canada equaled $13.6 billion in economic activity and 149,000 Canadian jobs delivering $5.3 billion in wages to Canadian workers, including everyone from grain farmers to bottlers to drivers who deliver product to local communities.

"About 250 people are employed by Okanagan Spring, mostly in the Okanagan, but there are thousands more in the industry and related businesses across B.C.," added Tobler.

The threat to Canada's beer industry is real. The conference board report highlights that, already, per capita consumption of beer in Canada has declined by 10 per cent due to various factors including high taxation driving up beer prices.

The Beer Canada campaign asks Canadian consumers to go to www.axethebeertax.ca to sign a petition demanding they scrap the escalator tax and share their thoughts with Finance Minister Bill Morneau and their member of parliament.

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