Buck-a-beer comes into effect in Ontario

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks during the buck-a-beer announcement at Barley Days brewery in Picton.
Canadian Press  Lars Hagberg

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks during the buck-a-beer announcement at Barley Days brewery in Picton. Canadian Press Lars Hagberg

Of Ontario's 300 brewers, 297 refused to sign on for the buck a beer campaign, and the three breweries who have are drawing less than rave reviews about their brews.

"The Ontario Craft Brewers Association is very pleased that the Ford government is looking for ways to reduce beer prices and increasing access for Ontario beer consumers".

With respect to the implementation of Buck-a-Beer, it is good news for Ontarians that the Premier has reduced the floor price of beer to allow brewers to sell at lower retail prices.

During the recent provincial election campaign Progressive Conservative Party leader and now Premier, Doug Ford promised to lower the provincial minimum that could be charged for beer.

Some have said they could not afford to participate without sacrificing the quality of their product.

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said the government remains committed to that election pledge but the focus right now is on lowering hydro rates and taxes.

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Ford has said participating businesses will be offered prime spots in Liquor Control Board of Ontario stores or advertising in the store magazine's inserts, among other possible rewards.

But the costs of making beer have gone up, as have the provincial and federal taxes, making it less feasible for brewers to sell their product at the $1 minimum price now, he said shortly after Ford announced the policy.

"I think we're responsible enough - we're adults", Ford said.

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

"The days of the government putting its hand in your pocket each time you buy a two-four or six-pack is over", said Ford at the time of the announcement earlier this month.

Loblaw is offering up its President's Choice brews for a limited time at a $1 a bottle but only in Beer Stores.

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