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Booze Prices Drop at Bars, Restaurants on August 1

Not a lot. But still.

Photo: Randall Brodeur

A tip from Burgundy Lion, Bishop & Bagg and Brit & Chips partner Toby Lyle about the new tax on alcoholic beverages, as put forth yesterday by the new Liberal government. From the Revenu Québec website:

The rates applicable to alcoholic beverages sold for home consumption (for example, at a grocery or convenience store) will increase, while the rates applicable to alcoholic beverages sold for consumption on the premises (for example, in a restaurant or bar) will decrease. Businesses selling alcoholic beverages on which the specific tax was (or should have been) collected in advance must take inventory of all the alcoholic beverages they have in stock at 6 a.m. on August 1, 2014.

Lyle took to Facebook yesterday to remind industry cohorts that the new tax is "a complete reversal" from a controversial Parti Québécois measure that sought to exact a 25 percent premium on bottles in restaurant and bar cellars before Christmas 2012.

The retroactive hike led the pub owner to marshal a protest at the Downtown office of Revenu Québec, where he told a reporter that "it's consumers who will pay".

Not every restaurant will raise its prices to make up for this tax, but in the end we might all be forced to. These things always get passed on to the consumer - that's how it works.

The tax rate for on-site consumption at bars and restaurants is currently more than for alcohol in dépanneurs, grocery stores and at Société des alcools du Québec outlets.

"Restaurant and bar owners have repeatedly pointed out there is an inconsistency, inequality, in the way alcohol is taxed," Finance Ministe Carlos Leitão told The Gazette last month.

As of August 1, the tax will decline on alcohol in restaurants and bars to 63 cents per litre for beer (down from 82 cents), and to $1.40 per litre for wine and spirits (down from $2.47). Lyle was quick to remind his industry pals to file for their refunds.

· Revenu Québec: Standardization of Alcohol Tax Rates [Official Site]
· Where to Drink Cocktails Right Now in Montreal [-EMTL-]

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