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Premier's buck a beer plan falling flat with craft breweries

Premier Doug Ford's plan to introduce buck a beer is getting a chilly reception from craft brewers, including North Bay's New Ontario Brewing Company.
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20180810 craft beer new ontario turl
Craft breweries, Like New Ontario in North Bay, won't be producing beer for a buck. Jeff Turl/BayToday.

Premier Doug Ford's plan to introduce buck a beer is getting a chilly reception from craft brewers, including North Bay's New Ontario Brewing Company.

Mike Harrison, brewmaster, and director of New Ontario Brewing Company told CKAT that he's not buying it.

"We provide high quality, innovative products that are interesting to our consumers and we're big economic drivers in our community. In order to make a dollar a beer can with our existing facilities and infrastructure, we would have to compromise on our quality, our ingredients and our processes. From all the other northern Ontario brewers that I've talked to, none of us are really willing or have the desire to make the product we could make for a dollar because it's not what we are about and it's not what our consumers want.

"Our customers are happy with the price structure that we charge. We charge a fair price for a top quality product that's made locally with local labour and ingredients and is brewed within our community. I don't really see the buck a beer impacting our market," explained Harrison.

In fact consumers may soon be paying more for craft beers as brewers adjust to higher prices for cans amid a trade war with Donald Trump.

A number of the province's craft brewers decried the policy — a highly publicized campaign promise — on social media, saying they could not afford to participate without sacrificing the quality of their product.

"I would argue that no one in Ontario — at least no one in the Ontario craft brewing market — can possibly afford to sell their beer at that price and make ... any money," said Matt Gibson, manager of corporate sales and marketing for Burlington, based Nickel Brook Brewing.

Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday his government would lower the minimum price of a bottle or can of beer with an alcohol volume below 5.6 per cent to $1 from $1.25. The provincial government will offer a number of non-financial incentives, like prime spots in LCBO stores and advertising in flyers or inserts, to companies that participate.

With files from Canadian Press




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