A pedestrian passes by the shuttered Brewmasters U-brew business on Fraser Highway. Owner-operator Ming Li said higher taxes have forced him to relocate. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Tax increase blamed for Brewmasters closure in Langley City

Owner-operator of u-brew reports 68 per cent hike

After close to 30 years operating from 20323 Fraser Hwy. in Langley City, the Brewmasters u-brew business has closed its doors.

Owner-operator Ming Li blamed higher taxes.

“Although I have been working six days a week with great passion and operating more than 10 hours a day, we simply can’t continually provide the brewing service for our longtime customers in this loving neighbourhood,” Li wrote in a notice posted on the door.

“As the increasing cost and shrinking customer base was crippling our business, the recent and abrupt hike in property tax this July 1st struck the final blow,” Li added.

READ ALSO: Langley brewery renames beer as tribute to local Vegas shooting victim

According to Li, the property tax jumped from $1,795.48 to $3,009.47, an increase of a 67.61 per cent an increase he said he couldn’t afford under a lease agreement that makes him responsible for paying taxes.

He described the decision as “incredibly painful to make,” but insisted he had no better choice.

Li stopped producing new lots of beer and wine for customers in November, and closed his doors in January.

“The business was losing money already,” Li told the Langley Advance Times.

“The cost kept going up. We don’t have a future.”

Li is hoping to relocate to smaller, less-expensive shared premises in Surrey, and is waiting for approval from Surrey City and the Liquor Licence Branch.

READ ALSO: A $50-million plan is proposed to prepare for rapid transit in Langley City

Founded by Terry Smith in 1992, Brewmasters offered its customers an opportunity to brew 50 different types of beer, and wine making on the premises, including specialty wines like ice wine, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, and blackcurrant varieties.

It also sold and rented home brewing supplies.

Langley City mayor Val van den Broek said the assessed property value for the property as determined by the BC Assessment Authority have increased “significantly” over the last two years which is driving property tax increases.

“Every property owner has an opportunity to appeal their property assessments before the end of January each year if they believe the value for their property is overstated,” van den Broek noted.


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