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Lloydminster brewery trying to cross border

An Alberta-based brewery is looking for a simpler way to move their product to the Saskatchewan side of the Border City. In order for 4th Meridian Brewing to bring their product over the border, it first has to ship to a Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority distribution warehouse in Regina.

Manager of communications for the SLGA David Morris says craft producers have to be a producer in Saskatchewan in order to ship directly.

“SLGA allows craft alcohol producers manufacturing within the province to direct to retailers, bars and restaurant that are located within the province instead of shipping their products through SLGA distribution centres.”

4th Meridian has been a wholesale distributor in Lloydminster since 2016 and has had their tap room open since 2017. Co-owner Helen Ramful says right now the brewing company has two shipping options in order for the product to come back to Lloydminster: send it directly to the warehouse, or take it to St. Albert to have it shipped from there for cheaper.

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“We lose money on what the wholesale cost of our product is to leave St.Albert to go to Regina,” Ramful explains. “If we were to ship it directly ourselves from Lloydminster to Regina, depending on the weight of the keg it’s anything from $80 to $100 extra per keg.”

Recently, Ramful says she has been looking into how the company can ship without going through the lengthy process, and thought she may have found another way.

“If the legislative said no matter what all our product has to go through Regina, I’d be frustrated, but I would say okay that’s how it is. Recently I found in the Alcohol Control Regulation something that states that’s not how it has to go, in fact, they can give you permission to do it on your own.”

That regulation comes from the most recent Alcohol Control Regulations in 2016 which states:

“If the authority purchases beer that is manufactured in Canada but outside Saskatchewan by a brewer who is a permittee, the authority may authorize the brewer to sell and deliver beer on behalf of the authority to any permittee specified by the authority, subject to the terms imposed by the authority.”

However, Ramful says the SLGA has told her that B.C. is the only province that is allowed to directly ship wine and spirits. She hopes they can find a solution to be able to serve events on both sides of the city.  

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