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

Just Posted

New surface coming to LePage Park

Renovations are set to begin in August

Alaska allows sale of Chinook incidentally caught during commercial chum salmon fishing

Strong run numbers at the Pilot sonar meant a lifting of restrictions, an ADFG biologist said

Help Wanted: Yukon businesses struggle due to labour shortage

There are lots of jobs, but where are the workers?

Canadian premiers discuss shoring up Canada’s Arctic

All Canadian premiers met in Saskatoon from July 9 to 11

From field to food: a grasshopper dinner

Yukoners Chris Gilberds and Erin MacIntyre think more people should be eating insects

Court news, briefly

Some recent news out of Yukon courts

This week at Whitehorse city hall

Some decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its July 8 meeting:

Driving with Jens: Distracted driving continues to be a serious issue

How often to you witness other drivers on their cell phones or… Continue reading

Yukonomist: Yukon summer reading

The sunny days of Canada Day weekend reminded me that the Yukon… Continue reading

Yukon athletes gain valuable experience at Jack Brow Memorial 2019

Seven Yukoners travelled to B.C. for the meet

Whitehorse defeats Dawson City in second annual Yukon Cricket Championship

“They came and we had a real Yukon Cricket Championship”

Most Read