Halifax craft brewery suing NSLC over longtime fee
Published Tuesday, August 16, 2016 7:58PM ADT
A court battle is brewing between a local craft brewery and the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.
Unfiltered Brewery Inc. says they’ve had to pay $24,000 in fees to the NSLC in their first year of business, paying 50 cents for every litre they’ve produced.
Brewery partner Andrew Murphy says he made some inquiries, but didn’t find the answers satisfactory.
"We asked the NSLC if they could provide any background or show us the policy, and the policy they gave us was simply, 'You have to pay,'” said Murphy.
The brewery partners filled out the papers on Monday, arguing the NSLC has no right to collect a tax.
“Between ourselves, our own homework and our lawyer's, it just doesn't seem right," said brewmaster and partner Greg Nash.
The corporation says the retail sales market allocation has been around since the 80s and helps the agency licence, counsel and promote local companies – which they say is a small price in the bigger picture.
"We provide listings, so that when they're ready to bring their products to market, we're ready with counsel, advice and shelf space so they can build a market for their product and build their business in Nova Scotia," said Denise Corra of NSLC Communications.
The minister responsible for the corporation declined to comment, telling CTV News it wouldn't be appropriate with the matter before the courts.
But Nash suspects government bureaucrats are doing a lot of talking among themselves.
“I'm not reneging comment because it's in the courts, however, I'm not going to sit here dreaming all day, either,” he said.
Wine producers in the province also pay the NSLC fee, but are only responsible for 20 cents a litre. The province's Craft Beer Association has been pushing to have it lowered to the same rate.
The association says it's had “productive” discussions with the NSLC and the province, and hopes to reach a settlement soon.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.