Ontario to offer incentives to brewers in buck-a-beer plan

Ann Santiago
August 10, 2018

"It's a buck-a-beer challenge - they'll have end of aisle when it comes to the LCBO, they might have those shelf extenders, they might be able to go into the LCBO, but it's costing the taxpayers zero", Ford told reporters Tuesday.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford's government is lowering the price floor for beer in time for Labour Day weekend, and will have incentives for brewers that reduce their prices. It was also confirmed that new minimum price will be allowed for beers at a strength of 5.6% abv and lower, and it will not apply to draught product. "You couldn't be more tone deaf on this subject". Based on the current provincial minimum price of $1.25 per bottle, the lowest a 24-bottle case of beer can be sold for is $30.

Deputy Premier Christine Elliott said that Tuesday's move was the first phase of Mr. Ford's larger campaign plan to allow for the wider sale of alcohol in Ontario, including expanding beer and wine sales to corner stores and big-box stores.

Annual indexing for all packaged beer will be suspended to maintain the $1.00 minimum floor price over time.

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.

"A lot has changed, not the least of which is the cost of ingredients to make the product, the cost of labour", said Simmons.

The lower price floor, which is limited to beer with an alcohol volume of less than 5.6 per cent, will take effect on August 27. "I think people in Ontario are mature enough to know when they've had one too many", he said. Before 2008, "buck-a-beer" did exist, until the Liberal government boosted the price of a 24-pack of beer from $24 to $25.60. Once upon a time, you could buy a beer for $1 a bottle.

The Premier of Ontario has announced his plan to make beer cheaper.

A number of other breweries, including Great Lakes Brewery, Muskoka Brewery and The Napanee Beer Co., voiced frustration with the initiative and vowed that they wouldn't participate. Ford would not confirm or deny the reports, saying only that an announcement would come later.

"I believe that we can pull this off".

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli stressed that the amount of tax brewers pay on each unit of beer sold will remain unchanged. "The premier is asking beer producers to lower their prices down to a dollar".

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