Some of Windsor’s brewers have given their support to legislation introduced by MP Brian Masse which would offer a tax break to microbreweries.
The Windsor West NDP member announced the “Supporting Small Brewers Act” Thursday. If passed, any brewery producing less than 5,000 hectolitres of beer a year would automatically qualify for a tax break and those which brew between 5,001 and 15,001 hectolitres would be granted a cut based on a formula.
Masse named Windsor companies Walkerville Brewery, BREW, Motor Craft Ales, Craft Heads Brewing Company and Rock Bottom in his speech.
“I think the whole object of what this is is to help the start-up small breweries because it’s difficult to compete with the big brewers,” said Mike Brkovich, owner of Walkerville Brewery.
Brkovich wouldn’t say how many hectolitres his company produces, but he said he would benefit because “you would have to get to a very large brewery before you couldn’t use those thresholds.”
Jordan Goure, a spokesperson for BREW, said his business has a capacity of 400 to 500 hectolitres of beer a year. He said he welcomes the proposal, even though it wouldn’t produce a large break.
“What I think it does do is it shows there’s a positive upswing for getting into the industry with the government finally getting on board with supporting local breweries,” he said.
In his statement in the House of Commons, Masse said microbreweries account for six per cent of the industry, a number “estimated to triple in the coming years.”
“This tax credit will allow these entrepreneurs to produce more, hire more and generate more revenue that will go right back into helping their small businesses and drive the Canadian economy,” said Masse in a statement.
Both Goure and Brkovich said Masse’s team approached them before introducing the legislation to ask about the amount of hectolitres and share what he thought should be included in the bill.
“I think it’s great that the NDP is behind supporting local breweries,” said Goure, who is also a political science graduate. “I also think it’s smart of them because obviously the craft beer industry is a booming industry and getting a lot of media attention.”
If the bill ends up bringing more microbreweries, Brkovich said he sees that as a positive for his own business.
“I think the more microbreweries there are in the city, I think the consumer will ultimately benefit and our industry, the microbrewing industry will benefit because more consumers will switch from the traditional big brewers to the beer that we’re producing,” he said.
Brkovich said he thinks the bill would help smaller breweries keep up with the demand of craft beer because they don’t have all the resources larger companies have.
“We have no additives, no preservatives, eight to 12-week shelf life. I think that appeal to the consumer is what’s really driving the demand for microbreweries,” he said. “We aren’t going to be competing with ourselves, we’re really competing with the big guys.”