MUSKOKA, Ont. — An Ontario craft brewery says it will be ceasing operations in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan by the end of the year. Muskoka Brewery says it was "shocked and disappointed" by the Alberta government's decision to increase the tax rate for craft brewers outside of the New West Partnership. It says the tax increase has created unacceptable conditions for all craft brewers that operate outside of the New West Partnership and wish to sell beer in Alberta. Founders Gary McMullen and Kirk Evans opened Muskoka Brewery in Bracebridge, Ont., in 1996 with their Muskoka Cream Ale. Today, the brewery employs more than 105 people and claims it is one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in Canada. McMullen, the president of Muskoka Brewery, says the company had been planning to widen its footprint in the western provinces, but the tax change means it's "unsustainable to sell our beer in these provinces." "We'd like to sincerely thank our customers for their support and passion for us, and we’ll be back when these trade barriers are squashed," McMullen said.
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