Alberta beer tax challenge pushed to Sept. 19

CALGARY — The Alberta government won’t get to defend the constitutionality of its beer tax system in court until Sept. 19.

The delay comes after arguments from lawyers representing two breweries outside the province stretched into the second of the two days allotted.

Toronto-based Steam Whistle Brewing has argued that Alberta violated trade rules when it imposed a separate tax system on small breweries outside of the New West Partnership provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Alberta in October 2015.

Great Western Brewing and Steam Whistle are together also challenging the changes Alberta made to the system that instead imposes a blanked $1.25 per litre charge on all small breweries, but returns much of that to Alberta small brewers in the form of a grant.

The two breweries have argued the system creates an unconstitutional trade barrier that unfairly favours Alberta breweries.

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