The Government of Ontario has announced that it will be rolling back the minimum retail price for a standard 341 ml bottle or 355 ml can of beer to $1 from the current $1.25 as of August 27th, keeping a campaign promise made by Premier Doug Ford earlier this year.
"We were elected on a promise to reduce red tape and put the people first", said Premier Doug Ford, who made the announcement while visiting the Barley Days Brewery.
After bringing a swift end to carbon pricing and scrapping one of the world's first government-backed basic income pilots, Ontario's new conservative government is pushing forward with one of its signature promises: dropping the price of a beer to a dollar.
"Nobody is being forced to lower their prices and there will be no subsidies or tax handouts", Ford said at the event. The reduction won't apply to draft beer, sources report, so a visit to the pub in a search for free lunch will still cost the same.
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The move is voluntary for the province's 260 brewers, and has raised questions about how many will actually implement cheaper prices given higher costs since beer was last allowed to be sold at $1 - a decade ago.
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'd be shocked if you saw a lot of breweries jump on this buck-a-beer thing".
Effective Aug. 27, Ontario's government will lower the minimum price floor to $1 for any beer with an alcohol volume below 5.6%.
"We're going to do this smartly and responsibly", said Ford.
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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. "I just don't think this is something our membership would ever entertain", Mr. Simmons said.
Britt Dixon spoke to a number of local craft brewers and none of them are embracing the new lower minimum price, saying there's no way they could produce a beer with quality ingredients for a dollar and it will only be a small number of breweries that will be able to participate. "The premier is asking beer producers to lower their prices down to a dollar".
"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".
"These are normal business expenses for our stores and no costs will be incurred to either LCBO consumers or Ontario taxpayers", it said.
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