New Opportunities for Alberta’s Small Liquor Manufacturers

Selling at Farmers’ Markets & Taprooms

Effective August 15, 2017, amended policy will bring Alberta craft beers and spirits to approved farmers’ markets alongside cottage wine, which is already approved to be sold at these venues. “This policy builds a new connection between local business and their local community while increasing access to locally-made liquor products. This creates new business opportunities for entrepreneurs who are truly at the heart of this policy change,” says Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board, Minister of Finance.

Allowing all small liquor manufacturers to sell at approved farmers’ and artisan markets means:

Small businesses gain access to a new retail channel and an opportunity to widen their consumer base.
Consumers have a new avenue to access local liquor products and an opportunity to contribute to the growing craft liquor industry by supporting local producers.

“This is a win-win for Alberta’s businesses and consumers and a positive development for the broader community as we all get a chance to discover and support more locally made products. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission continues to work with stakeholders and look for opportunities that lead to policies that better serve the industry,” explains Alain Maisonneuve, Acting President & CEO, AGLC.

There are 92 liquor manufacturers in Alberta and many have expressed a desire to showcase their products at markets.

Individual approved markets will determine whether to allow liquor sales at their farmers’ or artisan market.

The Government of Alberta and AGLC have also streamlined the licensing process by harmonizing licence classes and creating a small manufacturers licence type. All manufacturers will now have a single licence, rather than multiple ones, to identify their manufacturing facilities and their licensed establishments.


A newly created taproom licence will permit manufacturers to offer food service along with events and entertainment. These are often referred to as taprooms.

AGLC policies have also been revamped to add the new licence category so it is easier for liquor manufacturers to host events and engage more fully in their local communities.

Maisonneuve explains, “When we consulted with Alberta’s manufacturers, it was clear that our liquor licence classes needed to be updated to reflect the needs of this very dynamic industry. Manufacturers have more options in how they welcome customers to where they produce their product and offer event and entertainment hosting service.”

The Gaming and Liquor Regulation has also been amended so small manufacturers can operate licensed restaurants or bars away from where they produce. This will allow them to promote their products to a wider audience.

A part of the AGLC’s mandate is to ensure the province’s liquor industry operates effectively, with integrity and in a socially responsible manner. The Government of Alberta in partnership with the AGLC continues to work with stakeholders and look for opportunities that lead to progressive developments in the industry.

Photo (L-R): Graham Sherman (Tool Shed Brewery); The Honourable Joe Ceci; Andrea Lau (Bridgeland Riverside Farmers market); Alain Maisonneuve (AGLC); Colin McLean (Banded Peak Brewing); and Chris Heier (Half Hitch Brewing)