Ontario Craft Brewers Conference October 25 & 26   REGISTER NOW

OCB Presents to Minister of Finance

“We urge the government to immediately eliminate the beer can tax and commit to lowering beer tax rates for craft brewers as part of any upcoming announcement on the MFA and implement them in the next budget.”

This was the clear and simple message delivered by OCB President Scott Simmons and Board Chair Jeff Dornan when they presented as part of the government’s pre-budget consultations in Kitchener and Uxbridge in November.

We are singularly focused on reducing the tax burden on craft brewers and these two measured and long overdue changes are crucial to unleashing the next decade of growth for the sector like we had for ten years before COVID stopped it in its tracks. They are all about setting the foundation to help create more jobs, more investments, and stronger communities across Ontario.

Here’s what’s at stake: Make these changes and the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis has found they would help the industry grow by another 40% and in turn create 1,000 new jobs and $2.35 billion in more economic activity (and higher revenues for government). Do nothing and this amazing industry could disappear, along with thousands of jobs and all the economic impact. It’s as simple as that.

Craft brewers need immediate tax relief through eliminating the punitive beer can tax while the tax structure is overhauled to help breweries become more efficient, to grow, and create more jobs – benefiting consumers, the industry, and the province’s bottom line. 

We are excited for the future of this industry and will continue to fight for brewers because with these changes, the sky is the limit! Visit www.keepcraftbeerlocal.ca to add your voice for a stronger craft beer sector in Ontario!

OCB President Scott Simmons’s Pre-Budget Consultation Remarks

My name is Scott Simmons, President of the Ontario Craft Brewers Association. Thank you for the opportunity to present this morning. 

Our Association is the voice of craft beer in Ontario and represent over 120 breweries, located in every region of the province. 

On behalf of these struggling small businesses, I am here today to urge your government to immediately commit to lowering beer taxes for craft brewers as part of any upcoming announcement on the Master Framework Agreement and implement those changes in the 2024-25 Budget.

I sat in front of Minister Bethlenfalvy just down the road in Cambridge at last year’s consultation.

I told him about how difficult it’s been for our sector over the past three years and implored him then to intervene and immediately cut craft brewery taxes to help stabilize the sector and avoid seeing this fantastic Ontario industry be hollowed out.

While it has been a year with no relief and that is exactly what we are starting to see happen.

Breweries have watched as their profitability disappeared due to skyrocketing input costs, beer volumes decline as shuttered bars and restaurants never reopened and debt burden soar to the point where they were forced to close their doors.

Not a week goes by now without another brewery being put up for sale or the owners walking away because they have no other choice.

Behind every one of them are people out of work, regional communities losing one of their biggest employers, and less tax revenue for the province.

As I sit in front of you today, Ontario’s craft beer industry is on the brink and what Premier Ford and your government do in the next four months could very well determine its future.

Do nothing and this industry could disappear. Make reasonable, measured and long overdue changes to Ontario’s beer tax system and our industry could be bigger and stronger than ever – benefiting consumers, the industry, and the province’s bottom line. 

Our official submission will include additional measures but there are two simple, yet highly impactful tax changes we want to highlight today that will be a gamechangers.

First, immediately eliminate the punitive and unnecessary 9-cent per container beer can tax. It’s essentially a tax on craft brewers and getting rid of it for craft beer will help Ontario breweries of every size.

Second, begin work on a restructured and more progressive basic tax structure that incentivizes growth for bricks-and-mortar craft brewers. 

These struggling brewers need immediate tax relief by eliminating the can tax while the tax structure is overhauled to help breweries become more efficient, grow, create jobs and further invest in communities across Ontario. 

We can do this – but we badly need your support. And we need it today. Thank you for your time and consideration.