Today Scott Simmons, President of the Ontario Craft Brewers Association, issued the following statement of the province’s implementation of Buck-a-Beer:
“The Ontario Craft Brewers Association is very pleased that the Ford government is looking for ways to reduce beer prices and increasing access for Ontario beer consumers. We look forward to engaging in more conversations in this regard, including discussions about provincial tax on beer, as well as the plan to bring beer to more retail locations.
With respect to the implementation of Buck-a-Beer, it is good news for Ontarians that the Premier has reduced the floor price of beer to allow brewers to sell at lower retail prices. Unfortunately, most of our members will be unable to participate in this program given the high-cost nature of our local businesses. We brew in small batches using premium ingredients, have higher labour costs, and compete with other premium beers at the higher end of the beer cost spectrum. That said, having an artificially high floor price made no sense, and Premier Ford’s move will have a positive impact for many beer drinkers.
Since its inception, the craft beer industry has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the provincial government, growing the industry to 272 breweries that now contribute over a billion dollars to economy annually, and employ over 2,200 full time, and 8,000 in total. The craft segment continues to outperform the industry, growing at 20% per year annually.
This government is clearly focused on innovative changes to the current retail model, and expanding consumer choice. I think we will all agree this is great news for Ontario’s craft beer industry. We know that when people get to try our product, they love it.”