Ontario to offer 'non-financial incentives' to brewers for buck-a-beer

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In keeping with his populist campaign promises, Premier Doug Ford joined by Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, and Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Todd Smith, made the announcement at a press conference held at Barley Days Brewery in Picton this morning.

Eric Portelance, who co-owned Halo Brewery in Toronto until earlier this year, said the buck-a-beer challenge is "insulting" to brewers and distorts the market by devaluing their product.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said at Queen's Park on Tuesday there is no doubt Ford's plan will cost the LCBO money. "When you go out and you buy your case of beer for weekend, you're not going to be paying the same price; you're going to be paying less".

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The program will see the government-set minimum price of beer drop from $1.25 to $1.00 before tax and deposit. 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.

Brewers would not be required to charge less, but the source says the government hopes to get brewers on board with incentives for those who cut prices. "The premier is asking beer producers to lower their prices down to a dollar".

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

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Annual indexing for all packaged beer will be suspended to maintain the $1.00 minimum floor price over time. "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. "I think people in Ontario are mature enough to know when they've had one too many", he said. Napanee Beer Company tweeted that it won't participate in this: "There are a lot of things that our province needs", they said, "but "buck a beer" isn't one of them".

The premier was also asked about his plan for the sale of cannabis once it becomes legal in October, after some published reports said the province would allow private sector sales.

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