Gov­ern­ment brews up some tax breaks

Move aims to help grow craft brew­ing in­dus­try in New­found­land and Labrador

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Front page - BY DAVID MAHER [email protected]­ Twitter: DavidMa­herNL

It’s not quite buck-a-beer, but the prov­ince’s craft brew­eries are get­ting a tax break to sup­port the “fast-grow­ing” in­dus­try.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Tom Os­borne an­nounced the changes at Dildo Brew­ing Com­pany on Mon­day.

Craft al­co­hol brew­ers will have to pay less to the prov­ince for the prod­uct they pro­duce as part of the plan.

Pre­vi­ously, craft beer brew­eries would get a 33 per cent dis­count on their taxes for the first mil­lion litres — now, that’s been upped to 40 per cent. Sim­i­lar changes from 33 per cent to 40 per cent dis­counts also ap­ply to lo­cal winer­ies, dis­til­leries and cider pro­duc­ers in the prov­ince.

The ad­just­ments may look small, but Peter Wilkins of the New­found­land Dis­tillery in Clarke’s Beach says it’ll make a big dif­fer­ence to his busi­ness.

“The one that’s more ex­cit­ing is that we will get a 17 per cent in­crease for our sales in our shop,” said Wilkins.

“Pre­vi­ously, we lost money on mak­ing sales in our shop. Now, we’ll have some in­cen­tive for peo­ple to buy it from our shop, which is great.”

Wilkins says the tax ad­just­ments will al­low his com­pany to pur­chase new brew­ing equip­ment in the near fu­ture. He ex­pects the new equip­ment will help the dis­tillery triple its pro­duc­tion in the com­ing months.

On the con­sumer side of things, Wilkins says there likely won’t be a de­crease in price at the cash reg­is­ter. But he says cus­tomers will know more of their money is go­ing to­wards small busi­ness.

Gov­ern­ment will also al­low “do-it-your­self” beer brew­ing and wine­mak­ing busi­nesses in the prov­ince, with over­sight from the New­found­land and Labrador Liquor Cor­po­ra­tion.

Gov­ern­ment is also plan­ning to do a full re­view of the grow­ing craft brew­ing in­dus­try in the prov­ince, along with an eco­nomic im­pact study, due in the fall of 2019.

“This is def­i­nitely what we need to help our in­dus­try grow and we look for­ward to work­ing with them in the fu­ture,” said Justin Fong of the Quidi Vidi Brew­ing Com­pany.

The in­dus­try has seen a boom in the last few years, with com­pa­nies like Boot­leg Brew­ing Com­pany in Corner Brook, Scu­d­run­ner Brew­ing in Gan­der, and Split Rock Brew­ing in Twilin­gate open­ing to com­pli­ment es­tab­lished brew­ers like Quidi Vidi and Yel­lowBelly Brew­ing in St. John’s.

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