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Alberta Increases Wine Markup/Tax

Effective April 8, 2009, the Alberta Government (through the AGLC – the Alberta liquor board) has increased the markup rates that apply to all alcohol flowing through their system. While Alberta has a privatized retail system, all product still technically flows through the government distributor which applies government markup (tax) to everything. The rate changes will increase the markup by $0.75 to $3.34 on a 750 ml bottle ($4.45 per litre). These increases are projected to add $180 million to general government revenue in the next fiscal year. The rate increases are very hefty percentage wise. Because the markup is per bottle, the impact is greatest on lower priced product and diminishes percentage wise as the bottle price increases. In addition, because the system is privatized, it remains to be seen how much of the increases will be passed on to consumers and how much will be absorbed by the retailers/distributors. See the AGLC website for details and a full markup schedule (PDF). The increases will not apply to stock currently in the system so Albertans may be wise to visit their nearest wine store quickly, particularly if they like drinking lower priced wine.

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