Coronavirus: Ontario temporarily lowers minimum spirit prices, expands access to ciders

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The Ontario government has announced it’s temporarily lowering minimum spirit prices while expanding access to products made by cideries amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) made the announcement Tuesday evening, billing it as a means to help hospitality businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19.

“By making spirits more affordable the government is providing further support to restaurants, bars and other establishments that cannot serve patrons in-house during the current state of emergency,” the statement said.

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As of Tuesday evening, the minimum price for whiskey, gin, rum and other spirits was lowered to $1.34 per 29 millilitres from the price of $2 per 29 millilitres. A 375-millilitre bottle can now be sold for a minimum price of $17.32 instead of $25.86. A 750-millilitre bottle can now be sold for a minimum price of $34.65 instead of $51.72.

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The lower price minimums will be in effect until Jan. 1, coinciding with the end of the government’s previous permission to allow restaurants and bars to sell alcohol with food as part of a takeout order or delivery.

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For Ontario’s cider producers, the AGCO statement said the requirement for businesses to have five acres of planted fruit in order to have a store on the property has been temporarily removed.

Licensed cider manufacturers across the province will be able to sell products on the property or deliver products to customers.

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