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2 per cent increase to alcohol tax kicks in Monday

It’s a bittersweet day for many craft beer enthusiasts.

The federal government officially raised its alcohol excise tax on April 1 to 2 per cent.

Originally, the tax was set to increase to 4.7 per cent, in connection with inflation. But last month, the government decided to cap it at 2 per cent – a welcome break for craft brewers.

Paul Meek, the the owner of Kichesippi Beer Company says he is relieved the federal government did not increase the tax past two per cent.

“It’s much better than we were expecting,” said Meek.

“I’m on the record in terms of not expecting this to happen and I’m very happy that it did.”

In Brockville, the 1000 Islands Brewery says the increase is much more manageable than the alternative. The brewery has expanded, and operates as a full restaurant, meaning it doesn’t purely rely on its alcohol sales.

As for consumers, an increase is an increase.

“This is starting to kill us,” said Richard Fox, who was shopping at the LCBO Monday afternoon. “I remember when I was 16, 17, 18, 19, and (a can of beer) would only cost you $0.50.”

Retailers like the LCBO and The Beer Store won’t adjust their prices until after April 15.

Craft brewers will have some flexibility on how much of the 2 per cent their customers will pay and it will likely vary from location to location.

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