1708542028 Triani owners owe the tax office 25 million

Triani owners owe the tax office $25 million

The setbacks of two failed entrepreneurs are piling up. After announcing the sale of their mega beverage manufacturing plant in Terrebonne, we learned that one of their companies owes Revenu Québec $25 million, which the company denies.

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Tristan Bourgeois-Cousineau and Joannie Couture, who have an extensive business network, were ordered Feb. 8 to pay $25,184,413.96 to the Quebec Revenue Agency for 9372-2858 Quebec Inc.

This company operates a number of brands such as Triani Group, Triani wines, Triani drinks, Oshlag brewery, Thirsty drinks, Octane drinks and Mojo drinks, Le Journal's ruling says.

“No judge acknowledged the substantive arguments that led to this ruling,” Joannie Couture told the Journal via email Wednesday. The businesswoman, she said, is “in discussions with Revenu Québec to provide them with all the necessary information so that they have full knowledge of the file.”

“No judge has found us guilty of actually owing these amounts,” she emphasizes.

Triani wines

The Triani factory in Terrebonne is where most of Tristan and Joannie's products are brewed. They are also being sued by the city of Terrebonne because the factory has been illegally polluting for nearly three years. Photo agency QMI, Mario Beauregard

The notice was sent to the two controversial figures on January 3rd. It is a violation of the Quebec Sales Tax Act (QST).

“To get to $25 million, they didn’t start accumulating tax debts yesterday,” assures Pierre-Hugo Houle, owner of Brasserie Générale.

The brewer is irritated to see Tristan and Joannie racking up debt while another of their companies, Transbroue, owes him $131,922.

Transbroue was the distributor of most of Quebec's microbreweries. Since the duo's purchase in 2022, business has declined so much that the company filed a notice of intent with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy on Dec. 7.

Transbroue's debts amount to $30 million, of which $9 million is owed to small players such as microbreweries À l'abri de la Tempête, Bièrerie Shelton, Brasserie Espace Public, La Chouape, Microbrasserie 4 Origines and l'Alchimiste .

All of these small local breweries are in the red of at least $100,000 due to the actions – or inactions – of Transbroue, which reportedly stopped making payments around December. Transbroue's creditors' meeting will take place on February 29, but everything indicates that no one will receive money except the banks and the tax office.

“They were negotiating with us about bankruptcy, but they knew that Revenu Québec was waiting for them just around the corner,” protests Pierre-Hugo Houle.

The head of Brasserie Générale feels “deceived” by “two sharks” who “don’t care about the small players to whom they cause terrible harm.”

How will Tristan and Joannie pay back the astronomical sum to the tax authorities, and most importantly, how did they accumulate so much QST arrears without getting caught first?

Many hypotheses are circulating, some more unusual than others. Tristan and Joannie have a knack for getting talked about for the wrong reasons, to say the least.

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