Buck a beer isn’t as popular with breweries

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Graphic by Kash Patel

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has garnered both praise and controversy regarding his decision to work towards lowering beer prices to just one dollar, an announcement which he has been proud to stand by since it was released.

One criticism surrounding the ‘buck-a-beer’ campaign has been voiced by many local breweries who have seen this as an impractical policy to follow through with regarding craft beer production.

Derek Levert, the managing partner at Block Three Brewing Company, commented on the task of producing beer at such a low cost and what the policy means for local breweries.

“We’re not able to make beer and we’re not able to sell beer for a dollar a beer. It’s just impossible,” Levert said.

The cost of the bottle, cap and label alone amount to a dollar without the beer itself factored into the cost, making Ford’s wishes infeasible for companies such as Block Three.

However, the demographic that would be attracted to Ford’s policy, likely wouldn’t be purchasing their beer from craft breweries regardless, making the impact a smaller one overall.

“The people who are looking to buy beer at a buck-a-beer, aren’t typically the same customers we get at Block Three. I don’t think the customers who are coming in are expecting to get beer for a dollar.”

“It’s not really our target market and I don’t think there will be a huge impact,” Levert said.

The beer companies who are able to sell their product for such a low price are a vastly different market than the local craft breweries we love in the Waterloo Region.

Lowering the cost simply lowers the quality of the beer and the results from Ford’s policy will prove that in time.

“It would be more macro breweries who can make huge quantities of beer that we can only make in an entire year,” Levert said.

The few craft breweries who have said they are able to sell their beer for only one dollar will have a challenge ahead of them.

“I don’t know how they’re going to do it because it’s just not really feasible,” Levert said.

A main point of contention that has been voiced about the policy, is that it politicizes beer production.

This is an aspect that Ontario craft brewery The Napanee Beer Company highlighted in a Facebook post that has now been shared over 4000 times.

“It commoditizes and politicizes craft beer. One of the best things about beer — especially craft beer — is that it is egalitarian. No matter your political stripes, nearly everyone can take a moment to enjoy their favourite lager, IPA, or stout, and in many cases, support their local economy at the same time,” the post read.

“I think it’s just a political move to generate votes,” Levert said.

“I think what’s interesting, is that it shows that the Ontario government is moving towards deregulating an industry that is over regulated.”

“I’m hoping that the decrease in the price might signal that they are moving to deregulate this industry a little bit,” Levert said.

Despite the pushback from local breweries regarding Ford’s decision, it’s hopeful that companies like Block Three won’t suffer too much because of it, specifically because of the customer demographic they attract.

It’s far more satisfying to buy a beer that costs more, but had actual thought and care put into the production of it.

Mass produced beer that doesn’t break the bank is fine for some, but it overshadows the potential that rests in local breweries.

Lowering the cost simply lowers the quality of the beer and the results from Ford’s policy will prove that in time.

“When you’re making beer for a dollar, you’re using things like corn syrup and rice in your beer, while we use natural ingredients,” Levert said.

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