Push brewing to slash YLC beer markup

Opposition Leader Stacey Hassard pressed the government May 31 to consider two changes to the territory’s liquor rules: eliminating the government markup on locally produced alcohol and allowing producers to sell directly to retailers.

Opposition Leader Stacey Hassard pressed the government May 31 to consider two changes to the territory’s liquor rules: eliminating the government markup on locally produced alcohol and allowing producers to sell directly to retailers.

The changes were part of the Yukon Party’s election platform in 2016 and the elimination of tariffs is popular amongst local producers.

The Yukon Liquor Corporation applies a 23 per cent markup on packaged beer produced by small brewers.

This means that Whitehorse’s Winterlong Brewing Company has to sell their beer to the YLC and then buy it back at the markup so they can sell it in their own tasting room.

“At the end of the month, we tell them how much we’ve sold and they apply a 23 per cent markup which we have to pay, even though they don’t touch it,” said Winterlong co-owner Marko Marjanovic.

“It would definitely be nice to not have to pay that markup since the Yukon Liquor Corp isn’t involved except for a few hours of invoicing at the end of the month.”

The markup also extends to the beer that Winterlong sends to the YLC for sale elsewhere, but this isn’t paid by Winterlong.

“I know there was some talk of eliminating [the markup] for local producers which would certainly give us an advantage in terms of competing with out-of-province producers,” said Marjanovic.

It’s not yet entirely clear, though, whether exempting local producers from the markup would be compatible with NAFTA or the Canada Free Trade Agreement.

Hassard, a main proponent of the changes, said “it’s nothing that should be indefensible” under current trade agreements.

Jeff Erasmus, YLC’s director of operations, saidpricing was among several options the corporation is looking at to help local brewers.

“We’re very mindful of the trade implications with respect to providing favourable markups to local producers and we’re going to be looking at options that are available within the confines of these agreements.”

On the other hand, allowing direct sales to retailers might be easier to implement, but is met more cautiously by Marjanovic.

“That’s sort of a double-edged sword,” he said. “Right now YLC has a service where, for example, if I want to send a keg up to Dawson City, I just deliver it to the warehouse downtown here and they ship it up there for free as part of their service. I wouldn’t want to eliminate that portion of it.”

Hassard is confident YLC’s services wouldn’t be impacted. “It’s all about reducing red tape,” he said.

While direct sales would allow local producers to learn more about who is buying and drinking their beer, they would also have to hire more administrative staff.

“It would be a bit more work, but I wouldn’t see the harm in having it as an option as long as it didn’t eliminate the other side of the service that YLC provides of shipping around the territory for basically nothing,” said Marjanovic.

The YLC says it will review policies over the next year and consult with producers and the public.

Contact Andrew Seal at andrew.seal@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
BREAKING: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read