Buck a beer announcement riles the locals in eastern Ontario.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 8th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

He did say he would do it.

And he has done it.

Unfortunately he did it at a craft brewery in Picton.

Baldwin-Ford-Fedelli-Smith-at-Barley-Days

Premier celebrates an announcement that didn’t go over all that well. Said he was keeping a promise.

Craft beer brewers aim for distinct taste and quality as they develop their niche markets.
In its heyday farmers in Prince Edward County shipped thousands of tonnes of barley across Lake Ontario to beer makers in upstate New York. Those barley shipments created several fortunes in Picton.

The county’s economic boom started in the 1800s, when local barley was shipped across to the eastern U.S. to supply breweries. The barley days came to an end in 1890, when the McKinley Tariff was introduced to the U.S.A.

It was proposed by Congressman (future president) William McKinley in order to protect American industry from the competition of foreign imports. New York breweries could not afford to pay the 48.4% tax on Prince Edward County grain entering the U.S. and many were forced to close down.

The closure of a number of New York breweries and relocation of others to the American Midwest lessened the demand for Prince Edward County grains, eventually ending Barley Days prosperity.

The Premier chose to make his announcement at a craft brewery in Picton, Prince Edward County. It was the start of a countdown to the return of ‘Buck-a-Beer’, the popular $1-per-beer price floor that delighted people across Ontario until it was cancelled when the previous government abruptly introduced new beer price regulations.

“We were elected on a promise to reduce red tape and put the people first,” said Premier Doug Ford, who made the announcement while visiting the Barley Days Brewery. “This included a promise to bring ‘Buck-a-Beer’ back to Ontario. Today I am proud to say: Promise made, promise kept.”

Ontario has a craft beer industry that is doing rather well. It has taken those brewers years to get to the point where they have a premium product that they sell at a Premium price and it is sold in LCBO outlets.

Protesters block Ontario Premier Doug Ford's car after the buck-a-beer plan announcement at Barley Days brewery in Picton, Ont., on Tuesday Aug. 7, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Protesters block Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s car after the buck-a-beer plan announcement at Barley Days brewery in Picton, Ont.

The Premier has confused low priced beer with little in the way of flavour with premium beers. He embarrasses the quality beer makers with his political promise to let people get low quality beer that is cheap and can be purchased in volume. Those volume purchases are what result in excess drinking – the Yahoos just might feel that the “buck a beer” is a license to let loose.

There is that line from the French Revolution that went – Let them eat cake. You know where that got them.

The buck a beer promotion is pandering to a segment of Ford’s core vote which is fine. Just don’t do it on the backs of a market the province has every reason to be proud of.

Ford, who was joined by Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, and Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Todd Smith, announced that, effective August 27, Ontario’s Government for the People will lower the minimum price floor to $1.00 for any beer with an alcohol volume below 5.6 per cent.

“We’re going to do this smartly and responsibly,” said Ford. “We trust Ontario beer drinkers and other consumers to make their own smart, mature and responsible choices.”

ontario-buck-a-beer-protest

It wasn’t the reception the Premier thought he was going to get for delivering on one of his promises.

To encourage brewers to lower their prices, the Premier formally launched the ‘Buck-a-Beer Challenge.’ Any brewer who agrees to lower their prices on or after August 27 will, for a limited time throughout the year, receive LCBO promotional considerations such as limited-time discounts, in-store displays on end aisles and shelf extenders, or advertising in LCBO flyers and newspaper inserts.

“The days of the government putting its hand in your pocket each time you buy a two-four or six-pack is over,” said Ford. “Instead we’re going to do what we said we would do and put Ontario consumers first.”

QUICK FACTS
• The minimum retail price for beer was $1.00 in Ontario from 2005 to 2008.
• In 2008 the previous government decided to ban Buck-a-Beer by setting a higher minimum price and today the retail price floor sits at $1.25.
• Annual indexing for all packaged beer will be suspended to maintain the $1.00 minimum floor price over time.
• ‘Buck-a-Beer’ will not apply to draft beer sold in restaurants and bars or ciders, spirits and wine.

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