BURP ALERT - Ford to roll out buck-a-beer plan

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

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

It was one of Mr. Ford's signature campaign promises during the spring election, and on Tuesday the Ford government announced it was going ahead with a plan to lower the minimum price of a bottle or can of beer to $1 from the current $1.25.

"There will be no subsidies or tax handouts, instead we are launching the "Buck-a-Beer Challenge", Ford said.

Ford plans to use "non-financial incentives", such as prime spots in liquor stores and advertising in flyers, to promote buck-a-beer products.

"If beer goes up in consumption over what - 20 cents, 25 cents?"

"We're going to allow price competition for beer and this will save consumers money".

"By encouraging things like better shelf space at the LCBO, that really only benefits the brewers who can afford to make buck-a-beer, which is big brewers like Molson and not the little guys", he said. However, Mr. Ford said he didn't think the lower prices would lead to more drinking and driving.

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"These product placements or advertisements. have monetary value", said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

The Ford government announced today that the minimum price of beer is dropping to a dollar just in time for Labour Day weekend.

"After spending weeks ripping up contracts and curriculums, dismantling climate plans and pilot projects, this is the first time the premier has actually given us something", Schreiner said in a statement.

In the meantime, there are already plenty of beers that sell for cheap in Ontario.

"Is this the premier's priority?"

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.

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While some consumers welcome the news, some brewers say they won't participate.

"You definitely won't see.FreshGLB take part in this", the Toronto-based Great Lakes Brewery wrote on Twitter. "We believe in our brands, take pride in our quality and firmly feel that our current prices are very fair". And those reading "buck-a-beer" may assume beer will automatically cost no more than $1 across the board.

"We were elected on a promise to reduce red tape and put the people first", said Ford while making the announcement at Barley Days Brewery today. "It was hard for us to make beer anywhere less than $2 per short can in costs alone", he said in an open letter to the government. Angry residents created the hashtag #boycottbuckabeer which urged consumers to avoid buying beer at any brewer offering beer for $1 a bottle.

"And it won't affect the provincial treasury as beer is a volumetric tax".

"We are not reducing the tax level", says Vic Fedeli... which essentially says "we are encouraging breweries to eat the cost to participate in the "challenge". He has also vowed to expand the sale of beer and wine to corner and box stores in Ontario.

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