Ontario brewers that offer buck-a-beer may get LCBO incentives: source
Colin D'Mello, CTV News Toronto Queen's Park Bureau Chief
Published Monday, August 6, 2018 3:45PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 10, 2018 2:40PM EDT
Breweries that offer buck-a-beer this summer could get lucrative incentives including prime shelf space and free advertising with the LCBO, CTV News Toronto has learned.
Sources with direct knowledge of the plan say that other enticements may include limited product discounts and in-flyer LCBO promotions for companies that lower beer prices to $1 in time for Labour Day.
The province is set to announce Tuesday that it will lower the minimum price of beer from $1.25 to $1, fulfilling a campaign promise made by Premier Doug Ford.
When asked whether participating brewers would be subsidized to make up the difference in price, CTV News Toronto was told there would be "zero" financial incentives.
At least one beer-maker, operating out of Prince Edward County, has promised to sell a specialty brew for a loonie. Barley Days Brew, which is set to host Ford for the buck-a-beer announcement, says it's discount lager is "not going to compromise" on quality.
However, a popular Etobicoke-based craft brewer took a public stand against the initiative, saying they wouldn’t want to dilute their brand.
"We don't want to devalue our brand.' said Troy Burtch of Great Lakes Brewery. "To make a quick buck, it doesn't make sense."
Burtch said with the newly announced 10 per cent aluminum tariffs from the United States, canning beer has become even more expensive and the margins are smaller than they once were.
Beer bloggers are also questioning the quality of any brew priced at a dollar.
Ben Johnson, who operates London-based beer review website Ben's Beer Blog, believes that only large multi-national companies will be able to sell cheap beer because of the volume they produce. He also believes those companies may turn to extracts instead of quality ingredients to get the best bang for their buck.
"Essentially, if anyone does it, I predict that dollar beer is going to taste like it's worth about a dollar," Johnson said.
Buck-a-beer will still be subject to a provincial deposit and tax. According to The Beer Store website, cans are subject to a 10 or 20 cent deposit depending on their size.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story erroneously reported that beer cans are subject to a 5 cent deposit. The cans, depending on their size, are subject to a 10 or 20 per cent deposit.