Ontario Government Bringing Back "Buck-a-Beer" Minimum Pricing

Eileen GuzmanAug 08, 2018

While that sounds insanely cheap, note that for the last 10 years, the minimum price for beer was only $1.25.

"We're going to do this smartly and responsibly", said Ford in a statement issued Tuesday.

Beer fans across Ontario can officially start counting down the days until the return of "Buck-a-Beer", the popular $1-per-beer price floor that delighted people across Ontario until it was cancelled when the previous government abruptly introduced new beer price regulations. Andrea Horwath, the leader of Ontario's New Democratic Party, slammed Ford for keeping his promises regarding beer while turning his back on the 4,000 residents who were relying on the unconditional payments to buy healthier food, access childcare or go back to school. Today I am proud to say: "Promise made, promise kept".

However, brewers are not required to charge less, and the lower minimum price is expected to exclude draft beer and excludes the bottle deposit.

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 conservatives campaigned that bringing back buck a beer would allow more competition in the beer market "without affecting the province's revenues" from beer and wine taxes - approximately $589 million in 2016-17 as stated in government documents. "You couldn't be more tone deaf on this subject".

Ontario previously had buck-a-bottle beer. the then Liberal Government quietly hiked the minimum price in 2008, citing its "social responsibility" mandate.

Simmons said he's been speaking with his membership about Ford's idea to lower to price of beer for many weeks, and doesn't get a sense that they're concerned about it or interested in making changes.

The price of beer cans has jumped in recent months because of the escalating trade war with the United States which has slapped a 10-per-cent tariff on aluminium.

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.

"And it won't affect the provincial treasury as beer is a volumetric tax". It's up to brewers to actually pass down the savings of $1 beer to consumers.

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.

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