skip to Main Content

Recent Craft Beer Price Hike$

Image courtesy Vancouver Sun.

…are nothing more than BC Liberal asshattery

“Let’s put things in perspective: every month, some prices go up and some prices go down — just as any other retail cost or good — but we’re talking about cents here.”
– Suzanne Anton as quoted by Bill Tieleman in The Tyee, June 9, 2015, concerning BC beer prices.The reality since April 1, 2015:

  • 55 beer products deceased in price;
  • 19 beer products showed no change in price;
  • 94 beer products increased by less than 1%;
  • 219 beer products increased between 1% and 5%;
  • 123 beer products increased between 5.01% and 10%; and
  • 74 beer products increased by more than 10%. ****

I know just a short month ago I stated I was packing it in as a blogger, but this latest BC Liberal move, which saw them randomly hike the prices of beers, mostly craft beers, without telling the breweries ahead of time or giving them a cut of the increase, has me foaming at the mouth and I feel compelled to vent here before I explode.

Damn you BC Liberals and your BC liquor policy reforms. This latest price hike on June 2nd was a blatant kick in the crotch to BC craft beer consumers who have been the driving force behind the growth of the flourishing BC craft beer industry.

What an asshat move!

As a side note, I am submitting to the Urban Slang Dictionary the following:
Asshat– (noun), definition, “BC Liberal politician”.
Asshattery – (verb), definition, “actions taken by BC Liberal Party related to BC liquor reforms”).

Okay, back to my rant. Approximately 40 new breweries have opened in BC the past few years and many more are in the planning stages. Yes, BC breweries are producing world-class brews, but without consumers to purchase them these beers would most likely never be brewed commercially. As well, businesses and jobs associated directly and indirectly with the craft beer industry would not be supported or created, and local economies not spurred on in communities across the province.

I wish the BC Liberals would at least buy me dinner and give me a little kiss before bending me over the table and, well, you know where I am going with that one. I’m going to let you fill in the blanks and keep this PG-rated.

This price hike could finally be the move that kills the goose laying the golden eggs. We already pay outrageous prices for craft beer in BC and this is not because of the craft breweries that produce it. There is a tipping point for prices where consumers get turned off (and pissed off) with the cost of the goods in question and begin to think long and hard about making purchases and look for other options.

Restaurants, pubs and private liquor stores are just starting to support the industry and offer craft beer products regularly. Many businesses were previously hesitant to sell craft beer due to the fact that it was a new in this market and, more often than not, more expensive than the national brand lagers. Pricing is far more important in communities where jobs, especially higher paying jobs, are hard to come by.Most of the smaller breweries operate with a slim profit margin and are trying to find the balance between making a reasonable profit and not alienating consumers due to price. Our liquor prices are artificially high in BC, boosted by our government who rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year on booze. We are paying high prices because the government controls the final prices of booze in this province, not the manufacturers.

A prime example was just prior to the April 1st change over to the government’s new alcohol pricing system. The Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) contacted craft breweries (and I am sure all booze manufacturers in the province) and gave them a chance to adjust their wholesale prices; the price manufacturers set to sell their products to the LDB. The catch was that the government was not telling the breweries how much the government was going to mark up these prices, so the breweries had no idea what the final price on their products would be on the shelves.

The brewery folks in BC literally had to guess as to how much consumers would be paying for their beer and were hoping they guessed right on their wholesale pricing. Setting the price too high (underestimating the mark-up) meant potentially alienating customers because of price increases and setting the price too low meant a decrease in revenue for the brewery for no reason whatsoever.

But at least both the industry and consumers were aware that prices were about to shift April 1st and were, although in most cases unhappy, prepared.

Then June 2nd, prices went up again for some craft beers without warning or consulting the craft beer breweries or explanation to consumers that this was government driven and not a decision from the breweries themselves. I know of one brewery partner who found out about the price hike when they saw the increased price of their products on the BC Liquor Store shelves!

And not a penny of the latest increase is going to the breweries.

Wake up consumers. Start writing letters, e-mails to those in charge. Start letting your local MLA, no matter what party they are from, know this is unacceptable. If not, we are going to continue to see the government choke off the industry until it stalls out due to decreased sales secondary to ever-increasing prices.

Originally published on VanEast Beer Blog, June 19, 2015


Paddy Treavor

Paddy Treavor has been President of two different CAMRA BC branches. Self-described hophead, craft-beer advocate and wannabe reporter on the politics of the Vancouver/BC craft beer scene. Read more from Paddy on VanEast Beer Blog.

This reporter/contributor can be reached by the following means:

See all posts by this author

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top