Ford officially unveils Ontario's 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

The Progressive Conservative plan will lower the minimum price of a bottle or can of beer to $1 from $1.25 starting August 27 - a few days before the Labour Day weekend.

Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce the return of buck a beer Tuesday at Barley Days Brewery in Prince Edward County.

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

"None of our members are going to be interested in participating simply because they can't afford too", Simmons said, adding that if the government wants to lower beer prices for consumers it needs to look at lowering the taxes applied against alcohol sales in the province. "We're bringing back buck-a-beer to Ontario".

Barley Days Brewery General Manager Kyle Baldwin says they hope to be offering a case of 24 beers for $24 soon.

The minimum retail price for beer was $1.00 in Ontario from 2005 to 2008. Andrea Horwath, the leader of Ontario's New Democratic Party, slammed Ford for keeping his promises regarding beer while turning his back on the 4,000 residents who were relying on the unconditional payments to buy healthier food, access childcare or go back to school.

"I like Doug's idea of putting beer in corner stores and I this as a first step towards things like that", he said.

"Lower alcohol prices can lead to increased consumption, particularly among those with alcohol problems, and among young people, and that increased consumption can in turn lead to increased alcohol-related problems, including impaired driving". The caveat specifying that only bottles qualify for the price comes at a time when the LCBO and the Beer Store are pushing suppliers to ditch bottles in favour of 473 ml cans which are growing in appeal to consumers.

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

The current minimum price will drop from $1.25 to $1, according to the Premier.

"You definitely won't see.FreshGLB take part in this", the Toronto-based Great Lakes Brewery wrote on Twitter.

"There are no financial incentives - the tax portion of the beer is not being reduced". "We believe in our brands, take pride in our quality and firmly feel that are current prices are very fair".

"This is voluntary. We aren't forcing breweries to sell for $1", the source said.

Beer snobs don't seem ready to think outside of the bottle.

Breweries in the province have also been outspoken against the challenge.

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