Benefit Adds Spirit to Alberta’s Liquor Sector

Benefit Adds Spirit to Alberta’s Liquor Sector

The Alberta government is reducing the liquor markup for small manufacturers of spirits and refreshment beverages in the province, allowing them to grow and diversify their businesses.

Starting (December 8th), small distilleries, cideries, meaderies and cottage wineries will be able to sell their products from farmers’ markets, artisan markets or their manufacturing facilities at a reduced markup rate. This fulfils the government’s commitment to support small distillers and refreshment beverage manufacturers while encouraging economic diversification in Alberta.

“We believe that Alberta’s small liquor manufacturers play an important role in creating jobs and building a diversified economy. This program will allow manufacturers to hire staff, expand production and reinvest in their businesses. Alberta produces some of the best agricultural products in the world and these manufacturers work hard to turn them into high-quality spirits. We will continue to work with this industry to ensure they can do business in Alberta as easily and successfully as possible.”

~Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board, Minister of Finance

The markup rate will be reduced by $11.21 per litre to $2.46 per litre for spirits and reduced by $1.49 to $0.32 per litre for refreshment beverages, such as coolers and ciders. This will be applied to sales of all products produced by small manufacturers in Alberta. A small manufacturer produces under 1,500 hectolitres of spirits.

“Alberta has a long, proud history producing spirits from our world-class grains. Our larger distilleries that have been in operation for decades are instrumental to Alberta’s liquor landscape. Since we lifted the minimum production requirement, we’ve seen tremendous growth in this sector with new, small distilleries joining the proud tradition of our established large manufacturers. This change will help foster growth in Alberta’s small spirit and refreshment beverage manufacturing sector.”

~Alain Maisonneuve, president & CEO, Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission

The reduced markup was developed in collaboration with the Alberta Craft Distillers Association and reflects the proportional benefit currently available to estate wineries and meaderies in Alberta. The cost saving for manufacturers will support the growth and diversification of the industry.

“Alberta’s distillers have asked for a reduced markup program and the government delivered. This means that Alberta’s distillers can more easily grow, expand, hire staff and invest in their business. This is not only good for our industry but good for the agricultural sector. Alberta distillers strive to use excellent Alberta agricultural products in our spirits. This program is exactly what our sector needs to grow and to thrive.”

~David Farran, president, Eau Claire Distillery

David Farran (left) with Minister Joe Ceci

Markup rates


Refreshment beverages (ciders & coolers)

Current markup (40% ABV) $13.67 /L Current markup (<8% ABV) $1.81 /L
Proposed markup for self-distribution $ 2.46 /L Proposed markup for self-distribution $0.32 /L
Current markup (>8% ABV) $4.51 /L
Proposed markup for self-distribution $0.81 /L

Quick facts

  • The small liquor manufacturing sector is growing in Alberta, with 21 spirits manufacturers producing from 19 communities across the province. Overall, there are now 103 liquor manufacturers, both large and small, in Alberta.
  • Currently, there are 244 spirit products sold on site from Alberta small manufacturers of spirits and 44 refreshment beverages.
  • The reduced markup will return approximately $1.4 million to manufacturers in the next fiscal year.