The Sask Party government earned a few kudos last fall when they proposed loosening some of the truly arcane laws surrounding the production, sale and consumption of alcohol in the province. The legalizing of licensed burlesque shows was a particularly welcome development for those interested in the art form. But when it comes to the encouragement of craft breweries, distilleries and whatnot, there’s still work that needs to be done.

To encourage small start ups, the government taxes them differently than large-scale, mass-market producers of beer, spirits and wine. The problem is, the threshhold to qualify for the lower rate is pretty small. In Alberta, which has a similar program, the threshhold is much higher. That permits start-ups, once they’ve established a presence in the marketplace, to expand production a bit, become more profitable and help generate economic activity outside the the non-renewable resource sector. Here, though, the low threshhold prevents that from happening.

That’s my understanding of the situation, anyway. But there’ll be people at Festiv-ale who will know for sure. So if you’re checking this event out maybe ask around a bit. Festiv-ale is on Conexus Arts Centre Feb. 1-2 from 7-11 p.m. Tickets are $40. Here’s the website