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Budget 2014: New Beer Rules To Make Life Easier For Craft Brewers

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John Lund/Sam Diephuis via Getty Images
John Lund/Sam Diephuis via Getty Images

The 2014 federal budget is giving craft beer makers a break.

The Conservative government pledged to remove red tape for the beer industry as part of what many called a “do-nothing” budget because it contains many similar moves that cost little.

The Tories said they will modernize standards in the country's Food and Drug Regulations to allow small breweries who use more experimental ingredients to still refer to their product as “beer.”

The budget used the example of the Pump House Brewing Company, which had to delay release of a “blueberry ale” because regulations would not allow both words — "blueberry" and "ale" — to be on the label.

The compositional standards for beer outline the requirements a product must meet to be labelled, packaged or advertised as beer. Brewers had raised concerns that innovation and creativity were being stifled under the existing regulations.

Similarly, Rickard’s had to delay the release of a nutmeg-spiced brew because the addition of a spice meant that it could no longer be called a “beer,” which led to delays and added costs for the brewery.

The government promised to develop a plan that would also modernize other similar “compositional standards,” for other food and beverages, saying that some are not “keeping pace with industry innovation and changing markets.”

“Creativity and innovation in the development of products are critical to success in this industry,” the budget said.

“Large and micro brewers alike are always looking to develop unique products that respond to consumers’ evolving tastes. ... To be successful in doing so, they require a modern regulatory environment that can keep pace with innovation.”

The brewing industry contributes more than $14 billion to the economy each year and accounts for 163,000 jobs.

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