Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 03/8/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Manitoba beer drinkers might start returning their empty bottles instead of throwing them in the recycling bin after one of the largest-ever price hikes kicked in at midnight this morning.
A 12-pack of your favourite mainstream beers went up by about $2, thanks to price increases from the major breweries, an increased cut for the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission and licensee markups.
Twelve bottles of popular brands such as Budweiser and Kokanee, for example, now cost $23.75, a toonie more than they did on Thursday.
Labatt and Molson typically raise their prices around this time of year but this is the first time since 2010 the MLCC has increased its share, according to spokeswoman Susan Harrison.
"We've only had three markups in the last nine years. We take the markups very seriously. We work with the (provincial) government to establish net-profit targets," she said.
When the MLCC last raised its markup in 2010, the cost of a 12-pack went up by $1.25.
A couple of dollars might not seem like much in the big picture but it's enough to worry Bill Gould, president of WETT Sales, distributors of beers such as Moosehead, Samuel Adams, Cracked Canoe and Tennent's Lager.
"I think we're in a little bit of uncharted territory," he said, referring to the size of the price hike. "I think the consumer will react. There is always the concern it will mean less volume (for breweries)."
Gould said he thinks the higher beer costs could have an even bigger impact on restaurateurs and bar owners.
But that depends on what kind of beer they're selling. Mainstream brands are the hardest hit while microbreweries have been left relatively untouched. A 12-pack of bottles of Fort Garry Dark Ale, for example, only went up 35 cents to $23.70.
Nick Zifarelli, owner of Nicolino's Restaurant and the Orbit Room in Fort Garry, said he's going to leave his prices untouched because at $4.25 per beer, he's already on the cusp of charging too much.
"It's getting a little goofy now. (The increase) is almost two bucks a (case), that's basically a 10 per cent hike," he said. "We're going to eat that for now."
The impact will be minimal at Inferno's on Academy, too, according to manager Raj Maniar.
"Our beer list is craft-oriented. We have Half Pints, Fort Garry and Unibroue. We don't carry Budweiser, Coors Light, Miller Genuine Draft and Labatt Lite," he said.
The MLCC will also be increasing the price of spirits by $0.622 per litre as of April 1. That translates to at least a 47-cent increase on a 750-millilitre bottle.
What restaurants and pub owners have going for them is the demand for beer, as it tends to be for other items such as cigarettes and gasoline, is inelastic.
"When you see a price hike like this you say, 'holy smokes!' You hope the consumers will have some sticker shock but then they'll go back to buying it," Gould said.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 8, 2013 A5
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Options being considered for Arlington Bridge include tearing it down
Chiefs vote to keep Nepinak as leader of the AMC
H&M opening in Winnipeg on Sept. 10
Man charged after alleged online chats with teen
City refunding $1 million in photo radar tickets because of missing words on tickets
Peace rally to be held in silence
August civic holiday to be named after national hero
Former Bomber pleads guilty to fraud charges
Preview of Folklorama at News Café today
The search for a Billy Elliot to begin
Folk festival over, but concert series continues
Arrest made in city's 14th homicide
Hamilton, former co-chair of AJI, dies
Condo construction starts on former Restaurant Dubrovnik site
Mainly sunny, high of 28 today
AMC to elect grand chief today
Homicide investigation reviews dating profile
Museum moving right(s) along
Destructive rampage 'could have been catastrophe'
Cut mosquito-fogging buffer zones: Steeves
Health Links celebrates 20 years
Repaired runway set to reopen Thursday
Man killed in head-on collision
Lake drains a complex project, says Ashton
Manitoba chiefs' salary data online
Affordable housing projects to see $104M in funding
Sixth suspect turns self in
Prevent famine in South Sudan, minister urged