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

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

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

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.

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. It will go into effect on Monday August 27, 2018. "We're just trying to put money back in the consumer's pocket", he said. "We're bringing back buck-a-beer to Ontario".

"If the government wants to help society", he says, "they could start by putting a minimum price on other things that are more important to people who could use a helping hand. 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.

A partial or year-round promotional arrangement for even one brewer selling buck-a-beer in the province could easily represent more than $100,000 in lost revenue to the LCBO. "I honestly can't see how a brewer can pull that off", he said.

"Nobody is being forced to lower their prices and there will be no subsidies or tax handouts", Ford said, calling the move a "win-win". 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.


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 the beer producers to lower their price". "We would probably be losing at least half of that". "Instead we're going to do what we said we would do and put Ontario consumers first".

"I believe that we can pull this off". Angry residents created the hashtag #boycottbuckabeer which urged consumers to avoid buying beer at any brewer offering beer for $1 a bottle.

While the buck-a-beer program existed a decade ago, few breweries have shown interest in matching the cheaper price today.

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.

"Don't expect us to get involved in this", Mr. Burtch said.

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