Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Doug Ford expected to unveil Ontario ‘buck-a-beer’ plan today

Doug Ford expected to unveil Ontario ‘buck-a-beer’ plan today

Premier Doug Ford's indication Tuesday that brewers who agree to sell buck-a-beer will receive prominent placement in LCBO stores could cost the provincial crown corporation tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Cowbell Brewing Co., Blyth "It's certainly something Cowbell Brewing won't be pursuing". Citing increased taxes, higher costs for ingredients and labour and new USA tariffs on aluminum, Scott Simmons, president of Ontario Craft Brewers, said he doesn't expect any of his organization's members to offer beer at $1.

Today he vowed to make it a reality by the next holiday, Labour Day weekend, the first weekend in September. But some beer-makers say that offering "buck-a-beer" is unrealistic without compromising quality.

There is a caveat, however, as the reduction in price only applies to beer under 5.6 per cent alcohol content, and participation is not mandatory, Ford said. Lakeport, the brewery that adopted and popularized "buck-a-beer" in the past before being purchased by Labatt, also still sells for just $1.60 a can.

The last time Ontarians could be sold beer for $1 a can or a bottle was a decade ago, a minimum price the former Liberal government boosted to $1.25. "I think people in Ontario are mature enough to know when they've had one too many", he said.

"After spending weeks ripping up contracts and curriculums, dismantling climate plans and pilot projects, this is the first time the premier has actually given us something", Schreiner said in a statement. However, brewers are not required to charge less, and the lower minimum price is expected to exclude draft beer and excludes the bottle deposit.

"With all these new costs, it's just impossible to sell a beer at that price. I honestly can't see how a brewer can pull that off", he said. "You're going to get what you pay for".

"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".

However, at least one brewery is willing to embrace buck-a-beer.

The move will have no effect on the province's almost $600-million in revenue from beer and alcohol taxes, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said.

"There are no financial incentives - the tax portion of the beer is not being reduced".

The price of beer cans has jumped in recent months because of the escalating trade war with the United States which has slapped a 10-per-cent tariff on aluminium.

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