News & Press Releases

Beer Changes Are Brewing: Canadian Government Proposed Changes to National Beer Standards

The Government is giving Canadian beer a huge makeover!

Beer Changes Are Brewing: Canadian Government Proposed Changes to National Beer Standards

(Original Article on CBC)

The Government of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are proposing changes to national beer standards. Even the Canadian definition of “beer” might change.

 

The proposed set of changes to beer compositional standards include:
  • Expanded list of ingredients permitted in the making of a beer.
  • Brewers must list every ingredient on a can or bottle. This includes food allergens, gluten sources, and added sulphites.
  • No longer will beer be categorized into different styles like ale, stout, porter, and malt liquor. Instead, federal official want to set limits on sugar content.
  • Simplify language around the use of additives that would set define what is a beer.

“We’re not going to be excluding anything that is currently defined as a beer, but it does provide … criteria for brewers to work with. It allows them to hold on to what is traditionally thought of as a beer, while at the same time allowing them to innovate within that category.” – Luke Harford, president of Beer Canada

These changes to beer standards have been proposed by federal officials because of the increasing numbers of breweries in the past few decades. Many of these new companies are using ingredients that were not used when the current beer standards and regulations were introduced 30 years ago. This means that some of today’s beer brands are violating those standards through ingredients or unique fermentation methods.

The objective of these new regulations are an attempt to “allow for innovation within the beer category while still preserving product integrity and to better reflect the tastes and needs of consumers”. Many beer industry experts say “the proposals would help regulations catch up with an explosion in styles and types of beers”.

Negatives to these proposed beer changes? A government analysis says that small craft breweries could find meeting the new requirements difficult. Also, some of our favourite beverages may no longer be considered or marketed as beer.

“The most important thing you could do if you’re a craft brewer would be to get a handle on how to add ingredients, the labelling component and making sure people understand what they’re getting — that’s really beneficial for the consumer. It’s just that getting there is going to be a bit of a pain.” – Jordan St. John, co-author of The Ontario Craft Beer Guide

The government is proposing a two-year implementation period starting in 2019. Between then and 2029, the government expects the new rules to cost the beer industry in Canada about $5.48 million.

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Want to participate? The Government of Canada is welcoming feedback by email or mail. Public and industry comments on this beer changing proposal will be accepted until September 14th, 2018.

 

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