Yukon Liquor Corporation Contemplating Tax Break for Local Brewers

The Yukon Party are making headlines again up north by revisiting (from the opposition benches) a plank from their unsuccessful 2016 election platform:  eliminating the government markup on locally produced alcohol and allowing producers to sell directly to retailers.

Currently the Yukon Liquor Corporation applies a 23 percent markup to packaged beer produced by the territory’s small producers like Winterlong Brewing. This means that before Winterlong’s beer is sold in its tasting room, the company has to first sell it to the Yukon Liqour Corporation and then buy its own beer back with a mark-up tacked on. Last year in Ontario the Toronto Distillery Co. unsuccessfully challenged the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s policy that is substantially the same.

It is unclear whether a Yukon Liquor Corporation policy that would exempt local producers from a markup would be compatible with Canada’s NAFTA or other free trade agreement obligations. Similar concerns have been raised in British Columbia about the policy of permitting only locally produced wine to be sold on grocery store shelves.

The Yukon News is reporting that the Yukon Liquor Corporation intends to review its policies over the next year and consult with producers as well as the public. Alcohol & Advocacy will be monitoring the situation closely.

*Alcohol & Advocacy publishes articles for information purposes only. They are not a substitute for legal advice, and persons requiring such advice should consult legal counsel.

Dan Coles
Retired bartender. Young lawyer. From the East, living in the West. Interested in British Columbia's producers and purveyors of wine, beer and spirits.