Covered Bridge Brewery takes a pass on Ford’s ‘Buck a Beer’

Kathy and John vanDyk, owners of Covered Bridge Brewing. Photo by Barry Gray.

Photo: Kathy and John vanDyk, owners of Covered Bridge Brewing. Photo by Barry Gray. 

The owner of Stittsville’s Covered Bridge Brewery said he won’t be taking advantage of the province’s lower floor price for beer — and doubts many others will either.

“Absolutely not,” John vanDyk said with a chuckle when reached by phone on Wednesday.

VanDyk said Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s “Buck a Beer” plan, which lowers the floor price of a bottle or can of beer from $1.25 to $1 is not viable for many small brewers and is unlikely to make much headway.

“For me (an empty) can is probably 34 cents,” said vanDyk. “That means I got to make the beer for less than 70 cents a can and that’s just not realistic.”

“I don’t think you’re going to see any or most craft breweries jumping on board.”

He said other small breweries would similarly be unable to make a beer for just a dollar, as the cost of materials are too high. However, he said larger companies like Molson’s may be able to do it, because they could take advantage of economies of scale when buying materials.

VanDyk’s brewery opened about five years ago, he said, and has not once increased the price of their beers — even as the cost of materials and labour went up. “It’d be tough to lower our prices,” he said.

The PC government said lowering the floor price of beer would increase competition, but would not affect government revenues because beer is taxed by volume and not cost. The lower floor price does not include taxes, which vanDyk said should have been the government’s target if they really wanted cheaper beer.

The government will offer incentives to brewers who take advantage of the lower price, by providing special in-store LCBO placements and flyer promotions. The government said this does not cost taxpayers any money, but the opposition NDP said it effectively does because free advertising has a monetary value.


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5 thoughts on “Covered Bridge Brewery takes a pass on Ford’s ‘Buck a Beer’”

  1. It will be surprising if any small breweries take up this “offer” to cut their profits when the government is putting none of their revenue on the table. And, of course, Ford will take all the credit for it even if very few beers are available for a buck. His story will be that he enabled them to cut prices but can’t force them to do so.
    The likely outcome will be large breweries developing cheap beer that will taste like crap but that can be sold for the lower price. Younger people who have restricted resources will buy it because you can buy more for the same price – and, of course, that will end well!

  2. Ridiculous, how can a small brewery make a profit? Next time we are out
    will have Covered Bridge beer. Three cheers!!!

  3. This is just another blatant way to buy votes with no regard for the consequences. What about the increased healthcare costs as more and more young people become alcoholics and/or diabetics? Does our government not have more important issues to deal with? How stupid do they think we are?

  4. This is not about the price of beer – not at all.
    This is all about fixing the economy of things.
    Right now, especially in Ontario, the economy of things is waaaay off – it’s wrong – it does not make sense, and it does not work.
    How is it that much better, European beer, with taxes, tariffs, transportation, and all that …… is cheaper than locally made brew? I’m not picking on beer – the same thing can be said for vegetables and many other LOCALLY made products across various industries.

    Costs in Ontario just don;t make sense – is it cost of labor? Cost of property? Cost of Energy? Cost of ingredients? Taxes? Permits? Regulations? Certifications?….and all that? Sure, those things are good and important – but one must remember that all those combined costs cannot exceed the total cost of a competing product….otherwise no-one will buy LOCAL, ever. And the exported LOCAL products will cost evan more once transportation, distribution, tariffs, and all that has been added.

    Beer is just one example. But once this is figured out, and balance has once again been attained, then things will be better – both for the producers, and the consumers, for the local, and provincial economy.

  5. Did anyone really vote for the conservatives because they thought good beer will cost a dollar?

    I’ll take Kathleen Wynne over that buffoon any day.

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