It’s beer week in Alberta, a time to celebrate and enjoy craft beer but not all those behind producing the brew are in a celebratory mood.
“Profitability is down, so the amount of dollars we’re making for every beer sold has actually come down quite a bit,” Analog Brewing Company co-owner Bryan Launier said.
Many micro-breweries across Alberta are dealing with soaring grain, shipping and packaging prices.
This could mean that buying your favourite craft beer may soon come a premium price.
‘Happy Beer Street’ toasts Edmonton craft brewery district on 99 Street
“With how bad the droughts have been here in Alberta and other places in North America, we’re going to be seeing a massive increase in our barley prices moving forward,” Launier said.
Launier said while large brewing companies have already secured enough grain to weather the storm, it’s small breweries like his that are fighting for what’s left, and that drives up costs even more.
“We don’t have big investors behind us, we don’t have lots of money behind us like other big industries out there, so this is basically our livelihoods on the line here, our everything,” Launier said.
Food distribution and policy expert Sylvain Charlebois said that leaves many microbreweries with few options.
“[Businesses] have to either discontinue some [product] lines to build up capacity to support a few brands or you raise your prices,” Charlebois said.
The Alberta Small Brewers Association says many small breweries don’t want to raise prices.
“Hoping to keep things as stable on the consumer side of things knowing that there may be some extra costs going into the product,” Alberta Small Brewers Association executive director Blair Berdusco said.
Charlebois cautions those who do decide to take that route.
“If you raise your prices too much, you may price yourself out of the market, so you have to be really careful,” Charlebois said
Analog Brewing is doing everything it can to stay competitive, as difficult as that may be.
“We’ve put off hiring new people. We’ve put off giving ourselves salaries,” Analog Brewing Company co-owner Adam Corsaut said.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.