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Analysis

Sorry, Ontario: Doug Ford’s ‘Buck-a-Beer’ Plan is a Cheap Gimmick That Won’t Give You $1 Beer

Local Ontario breweries call Doug Ford’s 'buck-a-beer’ plan ‘stupid’, ‘nonsensical’ and ‘BS’

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he’s going to lower the price of beer to one dollar, but nearly everyone agrees that will probably never happen.

As Ontario’s working families struggle with real problems like housing affordability, prescription drug prices or long commutes to work, Ford’s $1 beer plan might not seem very meaningful at first.

But on second glance, Ford’s $1 beer plan is even more meaningless than you think.

For one thing, Ford’s $1 beer plan does not actually require retailers to change the price of beer.

What Ford’s government has done is change a regulation that sets the minimum price retailers are allowed to sell beer from $1.25 to $1.00 for 355 ml cans or bottles of beer – beer retailers can still sell beer at any price they see fit, as they always have.

And it’s highly unlikely beer companies will start selling beer for $1 now. Ontario’s Craft Brewers association confirms no breweries in the province currently sell beer at the current minimum price of $1.25, meaning they are even less likely to sell beer for $1.

“Nobody was selling beer at the price floor when it was $1.25,” Ottawa’s Beyond the Pale recently noted. “None of the craft brewers are going to be selling it at a dollar now.”

Burlington’s Nickel Brook Brewing pointed out “no one in Ontario … can possibly afford to sell their beer at that price and make any money.”

Meanwhile, Barrie’s Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery said Ford does not “understand the cost structure of a brewery,”

Other breweries say $1 beer would lower the quality of their beer and prevent them from expanding their businesses or creating good paying jobs for their workers.

And with the Trump administration’s recent tariffs on aluminum threatening to increase the cost of beer cans, Ford’s $1 beer plan means asking brewers to sell their products at a loss.

Because it is unlikely breweries can afford to sell their product at bargain basement prices, Ford is now offering to subsidize companies that sell $1 beer, a plan that could cost the province hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Here’s how local craft breweries across Ontario are reacting to Ford’s $1 beer plan:

It’s almost as if “buck-a-beer” only works as a gimmicky campaign slogan.

 

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