It has been over a year since the Alberta Government launched the Alberta Small Brewers Development Program in August 2016. The program has contributed 780 jobs in the small brewing industry and 513 new beer products made in Alberta.
The 4th Meridian Brewing Company in Lloydminster has been part of the program since opening in August 2017. Co-owner Edward James says the company doesn’t have the same economic scale as a larger business, therefore the program gives them a significant subsidy to help with production costs of brewing beer.
“It allows us to remain competitive with our pricing and stay in business otherwise we would be, we would have to charge you know twice as much as everybody else just to break even.”
The Brewing Company has 3 owners and is looking to grow with the help of the program. They currently sell their beer in different regions in Alberta including Edmonton and Calgary. James says they are still trying to understand the business and the demands that come along with it.
“I think as we grow probably by the end of, well come August of 2018, we should have a pretty good idea and a pretty regular client base that we’ll be producing more so at some point hopefully in the next 6-8 months we’ll end up having to bring some staff on.”
In the first year of the program the number of small brewers in the province grew from 45 to almost 60. Also, in 2017 the Government has made some changes such as reducing liquor markups for small distilleries and providing a $60,000 grant to the Alberta Small Brewers Association to promote local beer in the province.