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One dollar beer in Ontario is not that simple

Progressive Conservative Premier elect Doug Ford has mentioned he will bring the price of a single beer in Ontario down to one dollar each. Put simply, Doug Ford says a ‘buck a beer’ for Ontario.

Ways beer in the province of Ontario is controlled is: where and how beer is sold in Ontario, and the price of beer in Ontario. Beer in Ontario may only be sold through The Beer Store, that is the name of a chain of retail beer outlets that controls about 80% of the market, from retail stores attached to a brewery approved by the government of Ontario, from provincial government licenced establishments (restaurants, bars, hotels, special events, etc.), and in limited quantities at the provincial government monopoly LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) stores. The Beer Store is an oligopoly that was created by the Conservative government in 1927 at the end of Prohibition in Ontario.

There were 64 breweries in Ontario in 1916, when the Conservative government of Ontario enacted Prohibition, and only 15 left after the Conservative government of Ontario ended Prohibition in 1927. Those remaining 15 breweries were forced into a LCBO regulated cooperative by provincial legislation. Beer was to be sold from warehouses inspected and overseen by the LCBO. Minimum beer prices are set by the LCBO. Brewer's Warehousing Co., became Brewers Retail Inc., which became The Beer Store. Over the years, breweries were bought out by the other breweries until there were only three large breweries in control of the cooperative. Those three have since been sold to foreign corporations. Labatt is owned by AB InBev (Belgium), Molson is owned by Coors (USA), and Sleeman is owned by Sapporo (Japan).

The beer oligopoly’s producers and sellers want to keep their beer prices profitable. The LCBO wants to keep beer prices high claiming they are safe guarding the public by not allowing cheap alcohol to be sold through a "social responsibility" mandate of 1993 that adds to its existing temperance mandate from 1927. The provincial government wants the large amount of revenue the provincial government gets from taxing beer.

Either Doug Ford does not know what he is talking about when he says ‘a buck a beer’, or Doug Ford is lying.

© Trevor Dailey

Ontario government to bring back ‘buck-a-beer’ by Labour Day, source says



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