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Mandatory stamp on their products: Quebec's microbreweries are angry

Mandatory stamp on their products: Quebec's microbreweries are angry

Given in particular the additional costs, time wasted and logistical challenges involved, Quebec microbreweries say they're angry about having to put a stamp on their products that will be consumed in bars and restaurants.

A seal is a sticker that must be found on almost all canned or bottled products distributed in bars and restaurants.

“In the 1970s, the goal was a bit to counter the underground economy that could exist, where tax levels were different between beer that customers brought home or beer that was consumed on site,” Jonathan explained. Siboire microbrewery in Sherbrooke. The same tax is charged on beer consumed on site or consumed at home. “We put the seal in a way that was completely unnecessary.”

An outdated system according to the Quebec Microbreweries Association. The sticker is applied by hand, which requires additional time and effort.

Mr Goudreau added: “Then it's also the pressure that comes from the potential source of error – if we forget a seal on a box that's going to another restaurant in Sherbrooke, the consequences are still serious.”

These consequences are the imposition of fines or the withdrawal of the liquor license for a period of time, a situation that the co-owner of the Siboire microbrewery has already experienced.

“A bottle of alcohol from one of my colleagues did not have a stamp on it, they made a mistake. So we had to close the Jacques Cartier store for two days. We were closed even though we always try to act according to the law.”

In 2018, elected officials in the National Assembly voted to abolish the postage stamp, but today nothing has changed.

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“It's energy that we would rather put elsewhere to growing our business than trying to get a very clear message across,” Mr. Goudreau sighed.

For these reasons you may see this slogan: “Seal is Sealed” appearing on your drinks.

The Department of Alcohol, Courses and Gaming noted via email that the labeling systems have several goals. It is a tool to enable traceability of products, comply with distribution and sale rules, ensure payment of various duties due to the state and combat smuggling, money laundering and tax evasion. As for the advisability of abolishing these rules, this is a matter for the National Assembly and the legislator.

This complex issue concerns many departments and agencies. Developing an intervention strategy is difficult in the short term.