Controversy surrounds N.B. beer

By Amy MacKenzie

It’s not just the taste of New Brunswick’s new beer that has people disputing its existence.

On Mar. 12, the government released two new beers, Selection Lager and Selection Light.

Offered at the lowest price the N.B. government allows – $18.67 for 12 cans – the new beer was developed to keep customers from crossing the border into Quebec where beer sells for less than $11 per dozen.

Taste wise, reception has been mixed about New Brunswick’s new suds.

STU student Kevin Clow likes it.

“It’s actually pretty good considering the price,” he said. “It’s cheap and decent tasting. I would buy it.”

First-year student Kimberly White agrees.

“I’m not usually a beer drinker, but I would buy this beer. It’s cheap and tastes good,” she said.

Customers like Myles MacKenzie don’t like it.

“It’s so plain. I wouldn’t switch to drinking this from my regular beer,” he said.

But the controversy isn’t just about the taste; it’s about the initiative.

“The only thing the government should be doing is promoting existing N.B. breweries,” Brunswickan columnist Dave Evans wrote.

“How are we supposed to be creating a self-sufficient New Brunswick when the province is deliberately taking away the capability of private industry to grow, prosper and ultimately booster the economy?”

Shaun Fraser, president of Moncton’s Pump House Brewery, has openly opposed the government’s beer from the beginning.

“For the government to put one of their Crown corporations in direct competition or in business with their own citizens and their own entrepreneurs, you know, I mean whose money are they playing with when they do this?” Fraser told CBC.

Despite the controversy, NB Liquor stands behind its project.

“We are proud to launch these premium-quality, low-cost brands, which are brewed for New Brunswickers by New Brunswickers,” Dana Clendenning, President of NB Liquor, said in a press release.

“As far as I’m concerned, nothing ventured nothing gained. We haven’t invested in a plant or equipment, we don’t have a sales team out there. It’s a minimal investment to launch these two brands.

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