There was an interesting little piece in Canada’s McGill Daily today, about their alcohol laws. I knew about them to some degree and was at least aware that beer from one province couldn’t necessarily be sold in another without a high tariff. Essentially it’s the same as if you couldn’t sell beer from Oregon in California without a ridiculously high tax that made, for example, Deschutes Black Butte Porter as expensive as Westmalle or Chimay. Naturally, it was done this way to protect local and regional businesses from outside competition but it seems weird that Canada would feel that way about their own provinces. But perhaps we just take the interstate commerce laws we have here for granted. Are the majority of other countries set up with porous state borders or are they protectionist? I’ve never really looked at that, does anybody know? I’ll be interested to hear what my Canadian friends think about this. Stephen? Alan? Greg? Anyone else?
That is a bit of an odd article as the “high tarrifs” paid in Ontario add nothing as far as I can tell to the cost of a six of McAuslen’s wonderful Oatmeal Stout from Montreal. Also saying Alberta is the home of the highest percentage of beer fans is a bit weird, too. I think Alberta is only the home of the highest percentage of Albertans.
Greg Clow says
To be honest, I’ve pretty much given up trying to wrap my head around a lot of our liquor laws up here. Especially the inter-provincial stuff.
Although in regards to Alan’s comment about McAuslan being reasonably priced in Ontario, I think that may be due to the fact that McAuslan is partly owned by Moosehead, who also own Niagara Falls Brewing here in Ontario.
Taxes and tariffs aside – I think the lack of beer from other provinces is due more to the LCBO choosing to fill their shelves with European imports and cut-rate US swill. At least they’ve been getting more Ontario craft brews out there, and there are rumblings of at least a couple of good out-of-province brews coming in. So we’ll see how it goes.