Buck-a-beer starts in Ontario

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Buck-a-beer has come into effect in Ontario, bringing the minimum price of a bottle or can of beer to $1 from $1.25.

Brewers are not required to charge less, and the lower minimum price does not apply to draft beer, nor does it include the bottle deposit.

The policy was a highly publicized campaign promise for newly minted Premier Doug Ford, but it was decried by a number of the province’s craft brewers on social media.

This is exactly the reason some Ontario breweries say they simply can’t afford ‘buck a beer’ because that would mean sacrificing the quality of their product.

Ford has said participating businesses will be offered prime spots in LCBO stores or advertising in the store magazine’s inserts, among other possible rewards.

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There are currently two brands taking part in the arrangement. Barley Days brewery’s Loon Lager is available in limited quantities at 11 LCBO locations: nine in Toronto and one each in Bowmanville and Sudbury, the LCBO said in a news release.

According to the LCBO’s website, the brewer has supplied about 3,400 cans of Loon Lager so far.

Cool Beer Brewing Company, based in Etobicoke, is offering four-packs of its Cool Lager under the auspice of the buck-a-beer deal. It is available at LCBO locations throughout southern Ontario.

In time the Tories believe that the buck-a-beer would spark more competition in the beer market without affecting the province’s revenues from beer and wine taxes, which government documents show brought in roughly $589 million in 2016-2017.

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Time will tell whether this approach worked or not. A lot could also depend on inflation and the drinking habits of Ontarians which is moving away from beer and more toward wines and coolers. – CINEWS

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