What has the BC Craft Brewers Guild accomplished in the past five years that BC craft breweries just opening or breweries that are currently operating, benefitting from?
In 2015 the BC Craft Brewers Guild successfully lobbied the government to change the wholesale taxation model. We negotiated a 25% to 27% reduction in the markup for all BC craft breweries under 350,000hl. This ensured our products remained profitable in all retail channels compared to other products, which saves breweries hundreds to thousands of dollars per year.
In 2015 the Guild lobbied the government to change it so breweries only have to submit the tax remittance due for their product produced, instead of paying 100% upfront and then having to wait for the rebate less tax. This means more cash in our members’ pockets by increasing cash flow and realigning the payment to supplier model. This revenue allows members to increase their infrastructure more rapidly than before the change.
The Government of BC announced January 17, 2019 that they will be introducing legislation this spring that will give municipalities the ability to provide property tax relief to small businesses and organizations that they identify as paying high property taxes. The proposed legislation would apply to the 2020 tax year and be in effect for a maximum of five years. We have been tracking this since last July and have engaged with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on this specific issue. While this will not be a final solution for some of the overhead and taxation challenges faced by BC Craft Brewers, this is an important first step.
As an organization, we will again be engaging with the City of Vancouver and its Intergovernmental Working Group along with the Province of BC to ensure our views are represented in the new legislation and will continue to advocate for a permanent province wide solution. If you would like to reach out to your local MLA to express your support for this legislation, please let us know and we can provide you with contact information and resources.
In 2015 the Guild successfully lobbied/negotiated with the provincial government to have the volume thresholds removed that acted as barriers to growth to the BC craft brewing sector. Previously the volume thresholds were at 15,000 hl, 160,000 hl and over 350,000 hl. When a brewery crossed past these thresholds they were taxed on the entire volume, not a tiered system where tax under 15,000 hl was at one rate and over 15,000 hl was at a new tiered rate. This policy acted as a deterrent to growth for our largest members.
Forwarded the recommendation to “Buy Local” as a Regional Showcase for BC craft brewers in Government Liquor Stores. Breweries under 100,000hl are now allowed unlisted products in BCGLS stores across the province. This has resulted in over 2300 new BC craft beer listings and allows members regional support in their closest GLS stores. The current market share for BC craft beer in the province is 30%; this is the largest share in the province.
Growler stations: Secured exclusive rights for breweries to sell their beer in growlers, and not in liquor stores or elsewhere. This results in traffic flow to both the brewery and the community the brewery is located.
Removed the barrier restricting our breweries to sell other manufacturers’ products (wine, spirits and ciders) at their location.
Ensured craft breweries could participate in farmers’ markets and artisan fairs to support local economies throughout the province and drive awareness of the Buy BC Program.
Successfully lobbied the government to relax the rules for breweries and distilleries operating on Agricultural Land Reserve lands putting them on an equal footing with wineries and cideries. We will continue to work with the government towards their agricultural program: Grow BC, Feed BC, Buy BC.
The BC Craft Brewers Guild was part of a nine-member Business Technical Advisory Panel that met in the Spring of 2018 to review and recommend industry stakeholder concerns to improve the efficiency and outcomes in government and business interactions with respect to liquor regulations and policy. The report resulted in 24 recommendations for the Government to act on in 2019. BTAP Report 2018-04-30 Final copy
Our consultation with BCLDB and BCLCRB regarding member input into Contract Manufacturing resulted in the industry stakeholder’s survey to define upcoming regulations regarding worldwide production volumes and contract manufacturing on-site and off-site.
We are currently working with all provincial associations to establish a baseline implementation approach to fulfilling the traceability requirements being implemented in July 2020 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency under the Safe Food For Canadians Regulations.
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
In fall 2018 we hired Global Public Affairs to manage our lobbying efforts. Global has worked with our members on four major consultations with members and government.
- Declaration of Brewery volume to include contact manufactured volume and worldwide production volume of partners – Implemented by LDB April 1, 2019.
- Minimum Markup Requirements on Production and Equipment – Resolution expected Spring 2020.
- Contract Brewery Blended Markup – Submitted to Minster Eby – December 2019.
- On-Site Store Endorsement – Submitted December 2019 to LCRB.
- Business Technical Advisory Board – Formed in 2018 at the request of Minister Eby. The cross-industry panel including Ken Beattie submitted 24 recommendations for industry change. Positive negotiations and progress made in Fall/Winter of 2019 with expected announcements in Spring 2020. Don Farion was also invited to advise on the final negotiations.
The Guild supported the formation of a national organization representing breweries across Canada — the Canadian Craft Brewers Association was launched in 2019. Membership to the CCBA is included in a brewery’s BCCBG membership fee. The Board has rolled out an Independent Craft Seal of Authenticity™ that indicates the beer you’re drinking has been developed and produced by a small, independent Canadian craft brewer and this is now available to our Guild member breweries — at no extra charge.
Participated as active members of the Rideshare Now Coalition urging the provincial government to legislate a distinct, open-market framework to allow companies like Lyft and Uber to operate across BC as soon as possible.
Industry Partners – through our annual BC Craft Brewers Conferences we have signed up 60+ Associate Members to work with our breweries in all aspects of their business, often offering special member pricing.
Moneris – Access to a new partnership with reduced fees that we have entered into with Moneris as our payment provider for credit, debit and pos solutions. Based on savings we have seen in the test cases you will easily save more than your annual membership fees by activating this partnership.
BC Ale Trail – We secured an industry partnership with Destination BC and have created the single largest craft beer marketing campaign ever undertaken in Canada — the BC Ale Trail. We have a comprehensive beer destination program with Destination BC, over 30 Destination Marketing organizations, 116 breweries in over 50 communities around the province that showcases Guild member breweries and encourages on-site visits and promotional support in each community. In 2018 we launched the BC Ale Trail app to increase awareness and reward visits to our partners. In 2019 craft beer was declared a Sector (like golf and wine) by Destination BC enabling the BC Craft Brewers Guild to take over as the Sector Lead and Administrator of the project.
Also earlier this year, the BC Craft Brewers Guild was awarded additional funding through the Western Economic Diversification Canada federal program from the Canadian Experiences Fund. CEF is a national program that supports communities across Canada as they create, improve or enhance tourism products, facilities and experiences. Over the next two years, these funds will be applied to expenses that the Guild incurs from the administration of the BC Ale Trail (expenses that are not covered by Destination BC) and also a large portion will be reinvested into the BC Ale Trail to fund the update of content and videos, and the creation of additional signage and programs in support of our breweries and ancillary business stakeholders.
The 2018 and 2019 BC Ale Trail-er travelled to VCBW Festival in June and the Great Canadian Beer Festival in September, showcasing 10 different Ale Trail breweries from around BC each time, many from regional areas that don’t have their beer available for sale in the Lower Mainland or Victoria.
OTHER GUILD NEWS
In 2019, the Guild welcomed 30 new breweries members (including members in progress), bringing our total membership to nearly 180 independently owned and operated breweries in BC.
The BC Craft Brewers Conference had another successful year in 2019 with 550 attendees, 18 Educational Seminars and showcased 63 Trade Show Vendors (which are all now Associate Members and providing member benefits). Our seminars were recorded and are available to watch on our YouTube channel.
The Board approved the hiring of Global Public Affairs to manage our lobbying efforts with all levels of government and we have begun working with them in 2019.