Buck-a-beer details confirmed, Ontario brewery announces participation

An Alberta judge has ruled the government's mark-up policy on craft beer is unconstitutional. THE CANADIAN PRESS  AP  Toby Talbot

He said by August 27, brewers will be able to drop the minimum beer price from $1.25 back to $1. In a statement, Mothers Against Drunk Driving said lowering the price of beer carries a risk to public safety, and can lead to an increase in alcohol-related problems including impaired driving.

Premier Doug Ford 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.

As well, he added, "the respect and appreciation they will get from consumers will be priceless".

"Buck-a-Beer" will not apply to draft beer sold in restaurants and bars or ciders, spirits and wine.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, speaking to reporters at Queen's Park, said there is a cost to the province and that LCBO promotions do "have monetary value".

Currently, one of the lowest priced beers from an independent Ontario brewery is Cool Beer's Stonewall Light which retails at $1.45 per 275 ml bottle. Once upon a time you could buy a beer for $1 a bottle.

To provide incentives for brewers to lower their prices, the government is creating what it calls the buck-a-beer challenge, which will provide participating breweries with incentives at the provincially-owned LCBO stores. "The Premier is asking the beer producers to lower their price".

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The Greens said the beer program is an attempt to draw attention away from the government's controversial decisions to revoke the updated sex ed curriculum, scrap the basic income project and dismantle the cap-and-trade carbon pricing system.

"Is this the premier's priority?"

Today, the retail price floor sits at $1.25.

The Liberals raised the minimum price after being lobbied by major breweries, documents have shown.

Ford has also vowed to expand the sale of beer and wine to corner and box stores in Ontario.

"We aren't ready to talk about that right now", he said.

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