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. The so-called "Buck a Beer" promise has now come into effect. (Turget Yeter/CBC)

Ontario: Buck A Beer in effect

Cheaper beer arrives in Canada’s most populous province

It’s here, cheaper beer!  It was a campaign promise during the recent provincial election in Ontario, and now the recently elected Premier Doug Ford has made it a reality.

Alcohol sales and minimum prices are provincially controlled and Ford had promised to lower the minimum price that can be charged for a standard bottle or tin of beer to $1.00. The minimum had been set at $1.25 by the previous Liberal government some ten years ago.

Barley Days brewery in Prince Edward County, was the first to develop a lower priced beer, insisting quality has not suffered. (Barley Days Brewery)

Premier Ford’s Progressive Conservative government passed the bill lowering the minimum price which comes into effect today.

The new lower price will not affect draught beer, and breweries are not required to participate.

Ford said the policy will increase competition in the beer market while not having a negative effect on alcohol sales revenue for the province which amounts to over $500-million a year.

While many craft brewers say they will not offer $1beer, Cool Beer of Toronto is offering one of its products at the low price, “”Selling more beer means creating more jobs,” said Kevin Meens, Corporate Development Officer at Cool. “While there is a hit to the bottom line, this opportunity will (hopefully) generate a discussion about the high fees and taxes paid by all breweries to sell beer in Ontario,” (Cool Beer)

Encourage excess drinking?

The new price comes in time for the last long weekend holiday of summer the “labour day weekend” September 1-3, and also with the start of the new school session for most universities and colleges.

Critics say the policy will only encourage excess drinking, while several breweries, especially craft brewers, saying they can’t afford to brew quality beer to sell at the lowered price and so won’t participate.

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