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'Buck-a-beer' arrives in Ontario, in time for Labour Day

Three companies are taking part in the "buck-a-beer" program that rolls out today
Stock image of beer. LEHTIKUVA/Jussi Nukari

‘Buck-a-beer’ arrives in Ontario today with three brewers set to take part in the Ford government’s program.

The minimum price of a bottle or can of beer will be lowered to $1 from $1.25 for any beer that’s 5.6 per cent alcohol or less.

Loblaw is offering up its President’s Choice brews for a limited time at a $1 a bottle but only in Beer Stores.

The other two brewers are Barley Days Brewery of Picton and Cool Beer Brewing of Etobicoke. Barley Days hosted the province’s announcement earlier this month.

The three companies are the only ones taking part — among the 272 craft breweries in Ontario as well as the 15 foreign-owned breweries.

At the announcement, Premier Doug Ford said his government would also offer “non-financial incentives” to brewers who sell their beer for $1. Ford said participating businesses will be offered prime spots in LCBO stores or advertising in the store magazine’s inserts, among other possible rewards.

However, the ‘buck-beer’ program doesn’t sit well with a lot of craft brewers.

Toronto’s Henderson Brewing Co., called Ford’s initiative a “race to the bottom” and said craft beer consumers covet the quality ingredients that carry a higher price tag.

Steam Whistle Brewing, one of the larger local craft brewers, said low cost brewers often turn to added ingredients to lower prices — something they are not willing to do.

The Tories have said bringing back buck a beer would allow more competition in the beer market without affecting the province’s revenues from beer and wine taxes, which brought in roughly $589 million in 2016-2017, according to government documents

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