NSLC mandated to promote local; but leaves local beer and spirit businesses behind

The latest Auditor General report on the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission reveals that the government-run agency has failed local producers and businesses.

“The report documents a lack of clarity on how NSLC is supporting local distillers and brewers,” Tim Halman, PC MLA for Dartmouth East. “Taxpayer dollars are going to this organization so they can hold back local producers? That’s not right.”

The number of local alcohol producers has more than doubled over five years from 64 to 141 and makes up a significant portion of our economy. While local businesses continue to grow, creating jobs, and providing increased selection for consumers, the report makes clear they aren’t always supported.

The report notes that sales at the NSLC totalled over $700,000,000 last year.

“While small business owners are trying to keep their boat steady through a storm,” says Halman. “The last thing they need is a government agency trying to capsize them with arbitrarily made decisions.”

The report highlighted that the delisting of local products isn’t always documented. Since such a decision can potentially devastate these businesses, Halman says there needs to be a clear process like the one proposed by the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia.

Some shelf plans for product placement either don’t exist or have not been updated in over 20 years.

“Local producers are pouring their heart and soul into their work,” says Halman. “A couple weeks back, they were sending out notices to remove local products from shelves. Today the Auditor General confirmed that the delisting process lacked oversight.”

Halman says there is every opportunity for the NSLC to be the best partner for local producers.

“I have faith that the record profits seen by the NSLC can involve small businesses across the province,” says Halman. “It’s a matter of having a clear plan and respect for those fighting through a pandemic to make ends meet.”