Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government rolled out its “Buck-a-Beer” program Tuesday, but if you’re waiting with eager anticipation to buy a tall, cold one with your loonie, you could be waiting a long time.
What Ford actually did was to announce legislation that would lower the minimum price that brewers can charge for beer to $1 from $1.25.
But his plan doesn’t require the beer makers to drop the price of suds and it will offer no financial incentives for them to do so. (The government is offering non-cash incentives, like better placement in LCBO stores, to breweries that lower prices.)
In fact, the government intends to continue to collect the same amount of tax from beer production and sales, which means that they want the breweries to simply drop their price and take a hit on their profit margins.
The craft brewers, struggling to survive in a competitive market, say they just can’t do that.
Oh, and did we mention that the cost of aluminum cans has increased because of the tariff war with the United States? That’s another added cost for brewers.
Ford could have reduced the tax on beer or reduced the fee that breweries must pay to the LCBO to stock their product; both would have provided an immediate reduction in price. But instead, he wants to protect his revenue stream and put the entire financial hit of a lower price on the breweries themselves.
No wonder so many local breweries are hopping mad about the Buck-a-Beer idea.