Iqaluit votes ‘no’ to off-site beer sales

Monday’s plebiscite saw a 9-per-cent voter turnout

Out of 374 votes cast in Monday’s beer sales plebiscite, 180 people voted to make off-site sales at breweries legal, which was 48.1 per cent of the vote. But to change the law, that percentage needed to be at least 60 per cent. (Photo by David Lochead)

By David Lochead

Iqaluit residents voted against allowing breweries to sell beer to customers for off-site drinking, in a plebiscite Monday that was marked by a low turnout.

The ballot asked whether voters are in favour of licences for off-premises alcohol sales. If issued, a licence like this would allow breweries to sell up to 12 beer cans or bottles per day to customers to take away to drink elsewhere.

Currently under Nunavut law, sales for off-site consumption are not allowed.

Out of 374 votes cast, 180 people voted in favour of the proposed rule change — 48.1 per cent — while 194 voted no.

To change the laws, at least 60 per cent of respondents would have had to have voted yes.

Vote results were released on the Elections Nunavut website, along with the voter turnout, which was just 9.18 per cent.

Nunavut Brewing Company Ltd. had been working on getting this question to a vote since 2018.

The move would have allowed the brewery to customers would allow the brewery to experiment with more beer types as well as recover economically from pandemic-related losses, said Jason Oldham, manager of Nunavut Brewing, last month.

“It’s been a hard couple of years,” he said.

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(16) Comments:

    • Posted by Mobility is a right in Canada on

      You are not stuck anywhere. There are places all over Canada that allow liquor sales. The world is your oyster, go find another community that shares your views.

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      • Posted by John K on

        Working on it. I’ve padded my resume enough.

        You can have it.

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  1. Posted by John K on

    This is disappointing but hardly surprising given the community.

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    • Posted by Beers available at Beer and Wine Store on

      This brand of beer is available at the beer and wine store. I don’t think the GN has done a great job in managing the sales or the negative effects to our community and other communities but there’s more safeguards than the brewery selling direct to customers.

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  2. Posted by Putting this out there on

    Well that is interesting. but maybe not surprising, i think NuBrew is often used by transients and GN workers in Iqaluit for Meetings. So they are not the ones to vote.

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  3. Posted by Democratic process on

    The same way a bill requires 60% to pass, these plebiscites should require at least 50% of eligible voters to vote. I bet if every time a new weed store needed an election, we would see the same dismal turnout (and the same result of a ‘no’). A 9% turn-out speaks volumes about the city and it’s residents. Then again, did we actually expect anyone to care about what’s going on in the city?

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    • Posted by Consistency on

      umm… so what happens when it is less then 50% turn out for territorial elections (like the Nunavut wide 49.91% turn out). We have a very poor turn out to elections at all levels. and seems each one gets worse.

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  4. Posted by Consistency on

    how much did this cost? Who paid to ask those 374 residents? and I hope the bill is sent to NuBrew.

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    • Posted by al on

      They didn’t ask 374 people. They asked every adult in town. Those 374 were the only ones who cared enough to answer🤷‍♀️ Nubrew didn’t do anything wrong when they asked the government if they could sell beer.

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    • Posted by Maq-Pat on

      City by-elections used to run $80-90K, I’d bet Elections Nunavut is much more efficient. Ball Park probably around $40K

  5. Posted by The Beer Store on

    They shoulda gave voucher for free beer at the voting booth theyre wouda been a 90% turnout heh

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  6. Posted by BeerBeerBeer on

    What it says to me is that 90.82% of the population does not care whether the brewery sells its beer at its facility for take out or through the beer and wine store. And 9.18% people care. Maybe the implication of the vote for the brewery was not communicated well enough by the brewery? Maybe people have bigger things to deal with in their lives? Maybe some people really do not care about beer …

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  7. Posted by Anita on

    The plebiscite question didn’t refer to beer sales, only to off-site sales. Sure, there was lots of information about this applying to a Nunavut brewery being permitted to have off-site sales but when it came to the official vote that’s not what the question asked. Maybe that was deliberate.

  8. Posted by Maq-Pat on

    “recover economically from pandemic-related losses” …. publish your full financials, pretty sure you’re doing just fine.

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