Ontario Premier Doug Ford was all smiles today as he helped stack beer at the Barley Days Brewery in Picton; all smiles, too, as he delivered on an election promise to lower the minimum price on a bottle of beer.
He was joined by cabinet ministers Vic Fedeli and Todd Smith as he announced that, as of August 27, the government is lowering the minimum price floor from $1.25 to $1.00 per beer.
The source said the government hopes to get brewers on board by launching what it calls a "buck-a-beer challenge" with incentives for those who cut prices to $1.
Government documents show the previous scheme brought in roughly $589 million in 2016-17.
News of buck a beer's return was met with concern from safety groups and criticism from the opposition parties.
In a Twitter video released on Interntional Beer Day, Friday, he said "We have 260 of the greatest brewers anywhere in the world", Ford said on his Twitter video.
It will offer breweries who lower their prices promotional considerations like limited-time discounts, in-store displays or advertising in LCBO flyers and newspaper inserts.
"I'd like to see gas lowered to that price instead of the beer", said another man.
"Is this the premier's priority?"
Some breweries were quick to say they would not reduce their prices, while others in the industry said the plan was financially unsustainable.
While some consumers welcome the news, some brewers say they won't participate.
Steve Himel, co-founder and general manager of Henderson Brewing Co., also slammed Ford's program. "I don't know if his plan was to make the breweries look greedy or just to underscore his populist direction, but it is ridiculous", he said, adding the move ignores the shift towards more complex and well-crafted beer.
The Premier did not comment on Tuesday on his larger campaign plan to allow for the wider sale of alcohol in Ontario, including expanding beer and wine sales to corner stores and big box stores. Napanee Beer Company tweeted that it won't participate in this: "There are a lot of things that our province needs", they said, "but "buck a beer" isn't one of them". Ford would not confirm or deny the reports, saying only that an announcement would come later.