Guelph breweries say no to province's 'buck-a-beer' challenge

It doesn’t look like two of Guelph‘s most established breweries will be participating in the province’s “buck-a-beer” challenge that was announced by Premier Doug Ford earlier this week.

Both Royal City Brewing and Wellington Brewery say they can’t afford to sell their beer for $1 and would rather continue creating quality products even if they cost a few more dollars.

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“Our beers, we think, are competitively priced,” said Brent Davies, president and owner of Wellington. “The big thing for us our customers is the quality and consistency of our beer.”

“The high standard that we’ve got for our beer — we would just have to lower those standards to bring everything down to a buck a beer.”

Davies said their decision is not set in stone, but for now, they probably won’t be participating.

Co-owner of Royal City, Cam Fryer, echoed Davies’ rationale.

He said with the ingredients they use and the quality they strive for, they can’t afford to drop their prices either.

“We want to create the best product that we possibly can, we want to be innovative and avant garde, and unfortunately we just can’t do that at that price point,” Fryer said.

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Ford said on Tuesday that the government would offer a number of non-financial incentives, like prime spots in LCBO stores, for selling their beer for $1.

The plan will lower the minimum price of a bottle or can of beer with an alcohol volume below 5.6 per cent to $1 from $1.25 starting Aug. 27.

The Tories have said a return to buck a beer would see more competition in the beer market without affecting the province’s revenues.

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Davies said he could see some Ontario breweries jumping on board with the idea.

“It might kick start some of those older brands out there,” he said. “You have your Lakers and Brava that have the brand, and this maybe is a way to kick start into that market.”

But while Wellington may not be selling their beer for $1, Davies said it will just motivate their brewers to come up with new products to keep customers coming back.

“We want to come out with even better beers and maintain that high quality,” he said. “I don’t think people mind paying a little more for that quality.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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