Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Premier Doug Ford Announces Return of 'Buck-a-Beer' to Ontario

Premier Doug Ford Announces Return of 'Buck-a-Beer' to Ontario

He said by August 27, brewers will be able to drop the minimum beer price from $1.25 back to $1.

"We're going to do this smartly and responsibly", said Ford.

"By encouraging things like better shelf space at the LCBO, that really only benefits the brewers who can afford to make buck-a-beer, which is big brewers like Molson and not the little guys", he said.

They are going to brew a Buck a Beer, high quality, special product to take advantage of the opportunities here.

"We're bringing back a buck-a-beer to Ontario".

"When I ran my brewery we never made beer anywhere close to this cheap because of all the corners that need to be cut were unacceptable to us".

What it will mean is that the government will offer "non-financial incentives" to brewers who sell beer for $1. "We're just trying to put money back in the consumer's pocket", he said.

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The Tories have said a return to buck a beer would see more competition in the beer market without affecting the province's revenues from beer and wine taxes, which government documents show brought in roughly $589 million in 2016-2017. "You couldn't be more tone deaf on this subject".

Colloquially known as "buck-a-beer", the $1 minimum was in place from 2005 to 2008, and several discount brands were offered at that price point before the Liberal government began raising the floor price, citing "social responsibility" as the reason for the increase. The caveat specifying that only bottles qualify for the price comes at a time when the LCBO and the Beer Store are pushing suppliers to ditch bottles in favour of 473 ml cans which are growing in appeal to consumers. Ford campaigned on the idea of lowering beer prices with the catchy slogan.

Today, the retail price floor sits at $1.25.

Soberman explained to Global News that not all brewers will take on the "challenge" - especially not companies with pricier products.

Taxes on alcohol sales in Canada have been steadily increasing for decades, with the most recent hike happening in April 2018 when the federal government raised taxes on local and imported beer by two per cent. Angry residents created the hashtag #boycottbuckabeer which urged consumers to avoid buying beer at any brewer offering beer for $1 a bottle.

The People's Pint, a brewery based in Toronto, said it would not be joining what it called a "race to the bottom" on Twitter.

"We are not reducing the tax level", says Vic Fedeli... which essentially says "we are encouraging breweries to eat the cost to participate in the "challenge".

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