Local breweries react to the PC Government's "Buck A Beer" campaign

Gladys Abbott
August 8, 2018

A source with knowledge of the plan told The Canadian Press last week that the Progressive Conservative plan will lower the minimum price of a bottle or can of beer to $1 from $1.25 by the Labour Day weekend.

That's according to Rob McIsaac, partner and co-owner of Beyond the Pale, a craft brewery that has been operating in Ottawa since 2012.

"Under Ford's plan, brewers won't be required to charge less but they will be given incentives like prime spots in LCBO stores".

"There's tariffs that were just imposed on us for the aluminum", Tory Burtch from Great Lakes Brewing said.

In reality, Saunders said, small brewers like his simply won't be able to afford selling beer for $1.

The Government of Ontario has announced that it will be rolling back the minimum retail price for a standard 341 ml bottle or 355 ml can of beer to $1 from the current $1.25 as of August 27th, keeping a campaign promise made by Premier Doug Ford earlier this year.

Barley Days Brewery - one of the first breweries to open in Prince Edward County - has noted they plan to release a $1 beer created specifically for that price point.

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"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".

He said his customers won't be surprised when Beyond the Pale prices stay the same. "We trust Ontario beer drinkers and other consumers to make their own smart, mature and responsible choices".

There will always be consumers who want discount or value beer, consumers who like beers priced in the middle range and those who prefer premium products. That minimum price had been $1.25 under the Liberal government for a decade. Many Ontarians took to Twitter Tuesday to voice their discontent with the "buck-a-beer" announcement, particularly in light of the government's recent cancellation of a Basic Income Pilot project.

The LCBO said in a statement Tuesday night it will work on in-store displays, limited time offers and advertising with any beer supplier who agrees to meet Ford's challenge to reduce the price of beer.

"I'm getting an overwhelming response from them that it's not going to change the way they do business". "And if you follow social media, consumers are saying the same thing".

Beer fans across Ontario can officially start counting down the days until the return of "Buck-a-Beer", the popular $1-per-beer price floor that delighted people across Ontario until it was cancelled when the previous government abruptly introduced new beer price regulations.

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