Buck-a-beer details confirmed, Ontario brewery announces participation


Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a return to "buck-a-beer" in the province this week.

"I want people to have a fair price but you can't keep raising the taxes provincially and federally on our product", Ladell said.

McIsaac told CBC News that marketing incentives offered by the provincial governments - such as limited time discounts and displays at LCBO stores - seem nice, but wouldn't offset the hits the brewery would be taking by lowering prices to $1. "It was hard for us to make beer anywhere less than $2 per short can in costs alone", he said in an open letter to the government.

"We're making our lager the same as we always have, and we're very confident that we can produce a high-quality beer for a great price", he said.

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While that sounds insanely cheap, note that for the last 10 years, the minimum price for beer was only $1.25. Stonewall Light from Cool Beer Brewing Co. sells for $1.45 per 275 ml bottle. Each type has a different audience, and the $1 beer price caters to just one of those audiences, he suggested.

It's official. "Buck-a-Beer" is coming back to Ontario in time for the Labour Day long weekend.

For example, a brewer seeking one shelf extender filled with its product in every LCBO where one is available specifically for Ontario beer - 361 of the LCBO's 660 stores - would pay more than $27,000 for the promotion to run for roughly one month.

"Some of the bigger brewers can get in with a lower-priced beer perhaps but not the smaller ones".

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For comparison, $1 in 2008 is equal to $1.16 in today's money, once inflation has been accounted for. While some beer drinkers are happy with the possibility of paying less for their suds, others are criticizing Ford for what they believe to be misplaced priorities. "The margins are so tight". But it doesn't look like Ontario brewers are likely to take the challenge.

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said there are no financial incentives from the government and the tax portion of the cost of beer is not being reduced.

Even consumers don't seem to be overwhelmingly in support of the government's announcement. It's not clear how many brewers will take the Premier up on his offer. Once upon a time you could buy a beer for $1 a bottle.

The People's Pint, a brewery based in Toronto, said it would not be joining what it called a "race to the bottom" on Twitter. 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.

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