Several changes to regulations, mainly in the form of tax breaks, were announced yesterday to help support the province’s rapidly expanding craft beverage industry – that’s locally made beer, booze, ciders, and wine. (Non-grape wine anyway.)

In a nutshell, government taxing of local breweries, cideries, and distilleries were stunting the growth of these companies. It takes money to make money, but tax rates were limiting the amount of beer most breweries could produce and sell, the number of staff or equipment they needed to grow, etc.

Instead of a 33.3% discount on first 1 million litres produced, for instance, a craft brewery will now get a 40% discount on their products sold in retail outlets. The tax discounts are even better for beer sold in a brewery, winery, or distillery’s taprooms (50%).

These are the kinds of tax breaks that make sense: they allow homegrown industries to grow, and that’s as good for the economy as it is for craft beer enthusiasts. Quidi Vidi Brewery alone employs dozens of people, and dozens more than they were employing a year ago, due to solid company growth an expansion.

Justin Fong, Director of Marketing and Sales at Quidi Vidi Brewing, calls this week’s announcement “a positive step in the right direction for the craft brewing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition to these changes, the Provincial Government has committed to working with us on a full industry review and economic impact study for fall 2019. This is definitely what we need to help our industry grow and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

Peter Wilkins of the Newfoundland Distillery Co. Says his company will be investing in new stills and equipment as a direct results of this week’s announcement, “so that we can continue to grow and expand in the province and export to the rest of Canada and internationally.”

Companies like Wilkins’ are employing people in rural towns, and in the case of Newfoundland Distillery Co. gaining award-winning, international attention.

Government says these tax breaks are also all about encouraging new entrants into the beverage industry. No doubt the 10 breweries set to open in the coming year will be off to a better start because of it.

The Provincial Government has committed to continued work with craft beverage producers in the form of an industry-wide review to continue growth in the sector.

This announcement is no doubt a result of lobbying work from the newly formed NL Craft Beer Association. Read all about that here.