Alberta liquor sector creating jobs, diversifying economy

Press release

By reducing markup and creating grant programs, the Alberta government is supporting the province’s liquor industry and helping businesses grow and thrive.

Since launching in August 2016, the Alberta Small Brewers Development Program has provided eligible small brewers with grant funding, giving recipients the flexibility to invest in their businesses, increase production capacity, launch new products, reach new markets, make important capital improvements and create jobs.

During the past year, the program contributed to nearly 780 jobs in the small brewing industry and the addition of 513 new beer products made in Alberta.

In December, the markup paid to government was cut from $13.67 per litre to $2.46 per litre for Alberta spirit manufacturers who sell from the production facility. This allows entrepreneurs to hire staff, add production or product lines and re-invest in their businesses.

Today, Premier Rachel Notley toured Minhas Micro Brewery, in Calgary, to see the impact of the grant program first-hand and joined the Minhas family as they announced plans for a new distilling facility in Calgary.

“We’re working with entrepreneurs to create jobs. Brewing in Alberta is thriving, with more breweries and distilleries opening their doors or growing their businesses. I’m thrilled Minhas has not only expanded their Alberta beer production, but is also opening a brand new distilling facility in Calgary. This will create more good jobs for Albertans and support our incredible farmers.”

– Rachel Notley, Premier

“Minhas Brewery has directly benefited from the Alberta Small Brewers Development Program, and the markup reduction was a key factor in opening a distillery in Alberta. As a result of the grant program and markup reduction, we’ve been able to shift a portion of our production to here in Calgary. Having been born and raised in Alberta, being able to support the local economy – thanks in part to the support of the government – makes me very proud.”

– Ravinder Minhas, co-founder and CEO, Minhas Breweries & Distillery

In the first year of the program, the number of small brewers in the province grew from 45 to almost 60, the single largest year-over-year increase in Alberta’s history.


In 2017, government made several changes to improve consumer experiences and provide manufacturers more opportunities to showcase their products. Actions include:

  • Reducing the liquor markup on products from small distilleries and cideries in Alberta sold at farmers’ markets and artisan markets, or their manufacturing facilities.
  • Easing restrictions on patios for licensed restaurants and bars.
  • Creating a new taproom licence that allows producers to offer on-site food service, events and entertainment.
  • Allowing small producers to operate licensed restaurants or bars at a separate site.
  • Permitting the sale of Alberta craft beers and spirits at approved farmers’ markets alongside cottage wine.
  • Providing a $60,000 grant to the Alberta Small Brewers Association to help develop and promote the province’s local beer brand.

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