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'Buck-a-Beer' Returns August 27th

10 August 2018

Outside the brewery Tuesday, people gathered to protest the buck-a-beer program and other changes made by the Ford Government. 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.

Ford, who was joined by Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, and Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Todd Smith, announced that, effective August 27, Ontario's Government for the People will lower the minimum price floor to $1.00 for any beer with an alcohol volume below 5.6 per cent. The lower price won't apply to draft beer and won't include the bottle deposit.

The Ontario government also plans to offer "non-financial incentives" to brewers who sell their beer for $1 once the plan is in place later this month.

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The PC government is calling the move the "buck-a-beer challenge" and said the move is aimed at creating more competition in the market among brewers.

"Lowering the price of alcohol carries implications and risks for public safety", MADD Canada said in a statement.

Even a brand like Laker, which once prided itself on its $1-a-bottle price point, is retailing at $1.95 for a 473 ml can.

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"Lower alcohol prices can lead to increased consumption, particularly among those with alcohol problems, and among young people, and that increased consumption can in turn lead to increased alcohol-related problems, including impaired driving". "My friends we're going to do our part because a buck a beer is coming to a shelf near you".

While that sounds insanely cheap, note that for the last 10 years, the minimum price for beer was only $1.25. The PC government's "buck-a-beer challenge" is really a challenge to see brewers produce beer more cheaply today than they did a decade ago, despite the higher associated costs. It's a campaign promise that Doug Ford says he's delivering on.

They're already dealing with the increased cost and challenge in getting cans as a result of the effects of the Trump tariff on steel and aluminium. This typically tends to cost more, but it allows us to make the best beer possible, instead of making the cheapest. "I don't know if his plan was to make the breweries look greedy or just to underscore his populist direction, but it is ridiculous", he said, adding the move ignores the shift towards more complex and well-crafted beer. Ford would not confirm or deny the reports, saying only that an announcement would come later.

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'Buck-a-Beer' Returns August 27th