Small 0.7% Increase of Quebec’s Minimum Price of Beer as of April 1st 2021

Here’s a good news for beer lovers amid a never-ending pandemic: because the year 2020 has seen one of the lowest inflation rates in the past 10 years, the minimum price of beer will be increased very slightly this year.

As we know, the minimum price of beer in Quebec is indexed each year to the Canadian inflation of the previous year, as of April 1.

However, after several years of inflation at a substantiated level (2.3% in 2018, 1.9% in 2019), Canadian inflation fell by two-thirds in 2020 to 0.7%. following the confinement measures that have led to a general fall in consumption, helping to slow down the rise in prices in general.

Indeed, the Régie des alcools, courses et jeux (RACJ) — Quebec’s Liquor Board — will announce over the next few months that it will raise the minimum beer prices by 0.7% uniformly according to the various categories of alcohol, as follows:

  • from $3.1040 to $3.1257 per liter for beer brands with less than 4.1% alcohol by volume (ex: Bud Light);
  • from $3.2786 à $3.3016 per liter for beer brands of not less than 4.1% and not more than 4.9% (ex: Miller Highlife);
  • from $3.4011 to $3.4249 per liter for beer brands over 4.9% and not more than 6.2% (ex: Budweiser);
  • from $3.5151 to $3.5397 per liter for beer brands with more than 6.2% alcohol by volume.
annual inflation rate canada quebec 2010-2020
A MINIMUM PRICE HIGHER BY 14%: According to Quebec regulation, the minimum price of beer yearly increase must reflect the Canadian inflation level, not Quebec’s. However, for the past 10 years, the annual average increase in Canadian inflation has been 1.6% compared to 1.4% for Quebec. This difference therefore slightly favored Quebec retailers by providing them with a minimum price 14% higher than if it had been calculated using Quebec inflation.

Thus, the Quebec minimum price of beer for a 24-pack of Bud Light (4% alcohol) will rise from $25.40 to $25.58, an increase of 18 cents.

That of a 24-pack of Molson Dry (5.5%) will almost reach the $29 mark, rising from $27.83 to $28.03, an increase of 20 cents.

Now, will this affect current prices? Not necessarily, because the vast majority of retailers already sell their beer well above the minimum price, as we reported in a previous article (see here).

According to DepQuébec‘s most recent beer price survey, only Costco and a few beer discount c-stores will be forced to raise prices and that, for some products only. See by yourself (taxes are not included).

Product
Alcohol Level
New
Min Price $/L
Format
Liters
2021 Min Price ($)
Current Prices Couche-Tard
Current Prices COSTCO
Current Prices IGA
Current Prices Dépanneur RAPIDO
Bud Light4 %3,125712 can. 355 ml
4.26
13.32
17.99
17.99
24 can. 355 ml
8.52
26.63
31.99
30 can. 355 ml
10.65
33.29
36.99
60 can. 355 ml.
21.30
66.58
66.12
66.12
Coors Light4 %3,125712 can. 355 ml
4.26
13.32
17.99
24 can. 355 ml
8.52
26.63
31.99
28 bot. 341 ml
9.55
29.84
30.99
60 can. 355 ml.
21.30
66.58
66.12
66.12
Labatt Blue4,9 %3,301630 can. 355 ml
10.65
35.16
35.55
24 bot. 341 ml
8,18
27.02
31.99
Budweiser5 %3,424916 can. 355 ml.
5.68
19.45
19.99
24 bot. 341 ml
8.18
28.03
31.99
48 can. 355 ml
17.04
58.36
57.95
57.95
60 can. 355 ml
21.30
72.95
72.44
12 can. 355 ml
4.26
14.59
Molson Canadian5 %3,424924 bot. 341 ml
8.18
28.03
31.99
30.99

Only cases of 60 cans of Coors Light, Bud Light and Budweiser sold at Costco will need their price to be raised to equal or exceed the new minimum price as well as similar products at the Dépanneur Rapido.

For the rest, it does not change anything, which does not mean that manufacturers and retailers will not take advantage of the increase to raise their own prices on the sly.

This is still indicative of one thing: the time when beer was systematically sold at the minimum price is over.

Still, Quebec remains a paradise for affordable beer in Canada, especially when compared to Ontario.

This explains in particular why DepQuébec’s articles about Quebec beer prices and translated into English are among the portal’s most popular outside La Belle Province!

Cheers.

liste prix min par format 2020
As every year, DepQuébec unveils the “Quebec Minimum Price of Beer Detector”, an awesome tool to compare any beer price in any format whatsoever to the Quebec minimum price. Ideal for knowing if any price is closed or far away from the minimum price. DepQuébec readers can download the English version for free by clicking HERE.

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