Several Quebec microdistilleries say they are threatened with closure due to government inaction.

“Backed against the wall”, companies are demanding a solution before the end of the summer.

“It’s one to midnight. The regulatory and legislative context is suffocating microdistilleries and if nothing changes, it will be the end for many of us,” said the president of the Union québécoise des microdistilleries, Jonathan Roy.

The industry is suffering, they say, from the apathy of the Ministry of Finance, which protects the markup imposed by the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) when selling directly at the place of manufacture.

A solution

Quebec would be the place in the world where the markup on spirits is the highest when sold on the premises of manufacture.

Thus, nearly two out of three microdistilleries would be loss-making, forced to pay more than 50% of the selling price of the bottle to the SAQ. This increase is the same if this bottle is sold at the place of manufacture.

Nearly 70% of microdistilleries believe that the greatest obstacle to their development is this mark-up on sales at the property.

The microdistilleries want to pay the same tax amounts to the Quebec state, but without compromising through an intermediary.

According to them, this solution should allow Quebec microdistilleries to survive and ensure the integrity of state coffers.

The members are asking to increase the specific tax on alcohol in order to replace the mark-up, the latter representing a service not rendered by the SAQ on products sold at the place of manufacture.


Since 2020, a large majority of microdistilleries in Quebec have lost more than a third of their SAQ points of sale.

The microdistilleries denounce the current model which, according to them, favors large volumes and novelties.

“While the government advocates the importance of buying local, the first microdistilleries to close will be those that process Quebec agricultural materials right down to the bottle, because they are less conducive to economies of scale and less able to market a wide variety of products,” reads their press release.

The Union québécoise des microdistilleries (UQMD) has some 55 members spread across Quebec.