Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cheers! Tax Relief for Sask Breweries

Murray Lyons brought the good news in a Star-Phoenix column.

Saskatchewan's 25 brew pubs now have some additional incentive to convince other restaurants and bars to carry their product.

The tax they pay on beer production was reduced by the Saskatchewan government Friday, a move that puts the taxation of beer produced by brew pubs and sold off premises on the same level as the tax paid by microbreweries that sell their product to licensed premises.

Dan D'Autremont, the minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA), says the tax change eliminates an inconsistency in the previous tax regime and is part of a number of changes he hopes will modernize provincial liquor rules and taxation.

"What was happening was that the brew pubs were being charged at the national brewers' rate even though they are immensely smaller," he said in a phone interview. "So we saw the inconsistencies in this and brought the brew pub (tax) rate down to the microbrewery rate so that very small producers would all have a similar rate."

For a brew pub such as Bushwakkers in Regina, which sells its product to other restaurants and Hotel Saskatchewan bar, it means the tax or "markup rate" drops to 57 cents from $1.13 for every litre tapped from the keg. For bottled beer, the charge drops to 90 cents from $1.65.

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