Opinion

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kilannan

Spencer Wareham, Kilannan Brewing Company

I don't see how any real craft brewery could genuinely benefit from selling their beer at such a price. The costs associated with producing beer have steadily increased across all fronts and a big one is the provincial beer taxes.

It's perplexing to see something introduced after being a campaign promise with no support in the sense of tax relief, only the offer of promotional benefits at the LCBO. If the large breweries wanted to cash in on this, I'm sure they could do so easily.

For craft brewers, we're buying much smaller volumes of ingredients and supplies. It is unfathomable to me to see how one could turn a profit at that $1 price point at our scale.

I have no issue with the minimum price being lowered as I believe the government shouldn't be deciding that anyway based on the belief that they know better, or to protect people from themselves. A free market should allow companies to decide their pricing and we've always priced our beer fairly based on the high quality ingredients and extensive work that it takes to produce.

The buck-a-beer idea shouldn't be expected to translate to cheap craft beer as the industry is already difficult enough to survive in, but if large companies want to sell sub-par beer to the masses for a dollar a bottle then I believe they should be allowed.

Bottom line is our customer base who readily pay $3 or more for a can of high quality, flavourful beer will not suddenly be convinced to buy lower quality beer because they now save 25 cents a bottle from the earlier minimum price.

Any brewery that decides to partake in this will be doing so only if they see a potential to benefit from it. If the large breweries do partake, I doubt they will want to with any of the main domestic brands for fear of tainting the image and ruining the pricing they've already established which is well above the prices they are selling their beer for south of the border.

I don't know that it would directly end up costing the LCBO anything to fulfill this "challenge". You currently have to pay promotional fees to get prime display spots in stores so there may be lost revenue there to that extent. The large breweries are the ones who own Brewers Retail (The Beer Store) and the minimum pricing announcement will also work there. They already have prime floor real estate for their brands at those stores. If they wanted, they would be able to use those display spaces to advertise a skid of beer being sold at the new lowest legal price and create their own exposure at their leisure.


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