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Great Western Brewing Company ‘disappointed’ in Alberta government appeal

Great Western Brewing Company ‘disappointed’ in Alberta government appeal
Canada
Great Western Brewing Company’s president and CEO is disappointed that the legal battle between the brewery and Alberta will continue.

On Monday, Alberta’s provincial government filed a notice of appeal after a judge ruled its markups and rebate beer policy was unconstitutional.

“We’re obviously disappointed that this process is continuing,” Great Western president and CEO Michael Brennan, said.

“It’s been a long two years for us at the brewery; we’ve made significant sacrifices to continue as a company and we’ll have to continue to do that throughout this continued legal challenge.”

In June, Court of Queen’s Bench judge Gillian Marriott sided with Saskatoon’s Great Western and Steam Whistle Brewing from Toronto, ruling Alberta’s policy discriminated against out-of-province beer. The judge ordered Alberta’s government to pay the two breweries $2.1 million in restitution.

The decision came two years after Alberta’s government raised beer markups and offered a rebate program for small Alberta breweries at the same time.

“What changed is that we’re charged the same rates as some of the largest breweries in the world are charged per beer that they sell in Alberta, and that makes it a very uneven playing field for a small Saskatoon-based brewery,” Brennan said.

“It’s that increase in cost that we have to sustain is what’s challenging for us as a business.”

According to court documents filed by Alberta Justice on behalf of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC), the government agency is arguing the judge may have, among other things, made “palpable and overriding errors of fact” with regard to markup payments and incidences.

The appeal goes on to question whether a provincial grant, proprietary charge or a markup “applied equally to all” could violate the constitution; specifically, a section that covers free movement of products across provincial borders.

The appeal is also seeking some clarification over if Marriott “in her ruling impermissibly reduced or eradicated without any legal authority, the powers that the Crown possesses with respect to its property In liquor.”

Great Western said they were made aware of the notice of appeal earlier this week and are still working through their legal approach.
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