B.C. loves craft beer, and thanks to the seemingly unending thirst British Columbians have for quality brews, the province’s craft beer market is strong – and getting stronger.
On April 1, 2015 changes to the Liquor Policy Review removed some of the barriers keeping small-scale breweries from growing with their demand. The changes included allowing brewers to sell their products at places like farmers’ markets, or secondary tasting rooms. It also allowed a more gradual increase to mark-up rates for beer production, allowing smaller operations to produce the amount of product necessary to support and sustain their businesses.
These changes have made a definite impact. Since April 1, BC Liquor Stores have reported a 50% increase in craft beer sales from small-scale breweries, compared to this time last year. Sales from medium-scale saw 19% increase. In fact craft beer sales in B.C. have almost tripled in the last five years.
The process of acquiring a license for a brewery was also streamlined and simplified in the Liquor Policy Review. In 2015 alone, 12 new breweries have received their license to brew beer in B.C.
Kelowna, a region well-known for its vineyards and winemakers, has seen a recent boom in the number of breweries and the demand for craft beer. In Vancouver, the popularity of Brewery Tours has taken ales, lagers, and stouts to a level previously only seen in the world of the sommelier, and events like Craft Beer Week have thrust appreciation for unique brews into the public sphere.
“This is a thriving industry in our province and we want to help ensure its growth continues,” said John Yap, Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform in a media release.
“British Columbians clearly enjoy craft beer – particularly on hot summer days – and our government recognizes the need to help this industry be successful,” continued Yap. “With the changes we have implemented as part of the Liquor Policy Review, I am confident craft brewers across B.C. will continue to grow and expand, create new jobs, and enjoy continued success in the marketplace.”