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Monday, December 22, 2008

Adios Buck-a-Beer

I just spent three long cold snowy days back home with the family, visiting friends and attending good old kitchen parties surrounded by buck-a-beer drinkers. Hell, my step-father is the poster boy for supporting the buck-a-beer brands. Lucky, Carling, Lakeport... you name it, he'll buy it. Does he like the beer? "It all tastes the same to me," he always replies. So why buy it?

He grew up in the north. A place where you drank what your father drank, who drank what his father drank, and so on. There was no buck-a-beer option years ago (if there was I haven't heard of it), but the old guys drank beers like Labatt 50, Canadian, Blue, Black Label and Molson Export. When the price dropped to $24 bucks for a case of the cheap lagers he decided to save his money and buy Lucky, a beer he has drank for a number of years now. It all tastes the same remember and saving money along the way made it all the sweeter for him. Will this 6.7% price increase stop him? $24 to $25.60? No, but the way in which it was raised had him shaking his head last night at the dinner table.

From what I understand, Ontario's jolly Finance Minister Dwight Duncan (who by the way - has not yet replied to the 3 page letter I sent him months back on the way the Beer Store operates) reached out to the LCBO for a price increase and then the LCBO went on and stated it was due to social responsibility. Pleaseeeee. Everyone knows the increase is purely for government coffers and social responsibility has nothing to do with it. But what is the MOF office doing requesting an arms-length agency to rise beer prices? And the LCBO, come on, a $1.60 increase will not deter or curb abuse!

I'm gonna take this and run with it somewhere else. I think 'social responsibility' is the most over-used word this government throws at us every time we bring up ideas for beer sales reform. Here is what Premier McGuinty's office sent me an in e-mail months ago when asked about opening private beer boutiques:

Thanks for your online messages regarding the sale of beer in Ontario. I appreciate the time you have taken to forward your expert views on this issue.

My colleagues and I feel strongly about preserving the social responsibility standards in the sale of alcohol. Ontario consumers have a variety of retail options available to them for the purchase of alcoholic beverages - these include the LCBO, The Beer Store, wine retail stores and direct purchase from wineries. We believe that the current sales system serves the public interest best because it makes it difficult for under-aged or intoxicated persons to purchase alcohol, provides convenience and competitive prices, promotes Ontario products, and encourages responsible reuse and recycling.

I appreciate the issues you raised and have passed along a copy of your online message to my colleague the Honourable Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance, so that he can respond to you directly. Be assured that my colleagues and I will take your views into careful consideration.

Thanks again for contacting me. I welcome and value your input.

Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario

c: The Honourable Dwight Duncan

Competitive prices? Provides convenience? This is for another time, another day.

Anyway, back to the buck a beer increase - I really don't care as the beer in that category doesn't/didn't appeal to me. End of story. Check out Alan's view over at A Good Beer Blog.


Anonymous said...

Good one!

Michelle said...

The Ontario government has needlessly raised the price of beer and hardworking Canadians deserve a break, not an increase in their beloved beverage.
Let's take a stand against the price increase and bring back Buck a Beer!
Please view and sign the petition.
And check out our Facebook group:

Michelle Mester

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