Province drops to a “D” grade in latest “Raise the Bar” report card

Nov. 7, 2017 (Fredericton) – The government and Alcool New Brunswick Liquor (ANBL) are behind the times when it comes to today’s market for beer, wine and spirits, and it’s causing big headaches for bar and restaurant owners.

Outdated regulations and systems, high prices and empty promises are behind the dismal “D” grade awarded to New Brunswick in the Raise the Bar report card on provincial liquor policies, issued today by Restaurants Canada, an industry group representing bars and restaurants.

“The government keeps promising to fix these problems, but years later we’re still waiting,” says Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada’s vice president, Atlantic Canada. “Government inaction is costing our industry, our customers and our economy.”

The report calls for action from New Brunswick in three main areas:

  • Overhaul outdated liquor regulations and systems
  • Deliver on a promise to introduce wholesale pricing for liquor licensees, who currently pay retail price for beer, wine and spirits
  • Allow licensees to order craft beer directly from brewers, instead of through ANBL

“New Brunswick can quickly move to the top of the class if the government delivers on its promises,” says Erjavec. “Bars and restaurants invest in local communities, hire local and attract other businesses and tourists. It’s a win-win for government to remove unnecessary barriers to growth and innovation.”

Raise the Bar rates each province on the bar- and restaurant-friendliness of their liquor policies, primarily in terms of price, selection, licensing and regulation. Alberta earned the top mark, a “B”, as the only province to offer true wholesale pricing on beer, wine and spirits. Newfoundland and Labrador is at the bottom of the class with D-minus due to high prices, limited selection and excess red tape.

The full rankings are:

Province Grade
Alberta B
Quebec B-
Nova Scotia B-
P.E.I. B-
British Columbia C
Manitoba C
Saskatchewan C-
Ontario D+
New Brunswick D
Newfoundland D-

Canada’s bars and licensed restaurants represent 48,000 businesses, directly employ 560,000 Canadians, and generate $8.2 billion a year in economic activity, 97% of which goes back to the community through wages, benefits, business purchases and charitable donations.

The complete Raise the Bar report card is available at restaurantscanada.org/raise-the-bar-2017.

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