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A specially produced can of Ottawa-based Dominion City Brewing Co.'s beer, proceeds from which $1 will go to refugee services in the area.

Whether or not Doug Ford’s buck-a-beer plan proves a hit with Ontarians remains to be seen, but it has served as inspiration for one brewery.

Ottawa’s Dominion City Brewing Co. was so taken with the Ontario Premier’s idea that it has started its own buck-a-beer promotion.


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But rather than lowering the minimum price of a can or bottle of suds to $1 from $1.25 by Aug. 27, as per Mr. Ford’s plan, the brewery instead will be donating a dollar to refugee support in Ottawa with every purchase of its Buck-A-Beer Blonde Ale.

“Cold beer, warm welcomes, they kind of belong together,” says Josh McJannett, who co-founded Dominion City four years ago. “So doing something positive to support refugee welcome felt like an opportunity to take this moment and turn it into something positive.”

Like many other craft brewers across the province, Mr. McJannett is a strong believer that a good quality beer costs more than a dollar to produce. Each can of Buck-A-Beer will retail for $3.55 when it goes on sale on Aug. 30 to coincide with the Labour Day long weekend, the same weekend that Mr. Ford was targeting for the start of his buck-a-beer promotion.

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Josh McJannett, co-founder of Dominion City Brewing Co. in Ottawa.

And while the original plan was to donate a dollar for every can sold, it will end up being more than that. Sessions Craft Canning, which supplies the aluminum cans that Dominion City uses, will be donating the cans for the 3,500-unit batch of Buck-A-Beer Blonde Ale, and the money saved will be going to refugee support, as well. On top of that, a number of the restaurants that carry Dominion City beers have offered to match the brewery’s donations.

In turn, the brewery has approached Refugee 613, an Ottawa-based co-ordinating body that helps to settle refugees in the city, about finding organizations where the raised funds can have the most impact.

Though details of a partnership are still being negotiated, staff at the organization are excited to see the other buck-a-beer promotion bear fruit.

“It’s always very exciting, especially when a local business is looking to find a way to give back to the community, so we were definitely very excited and touched by the gesture,” says Sally Dimachki, a project co-ordinator at Refugee 613.

“Regardless of what happens” Ms. Dimachki says, the fact that Dominion City intends to contribute to supporting refugee integration in Ottawa is “what matters.”

At present, Dominion City’s promotion is a one-time thing, though if sales of the gold-coloured cans – based on the loonie – go quickly, Mr. McJannett says he may have to revisit it.

Mr. Ford’s buck-a-beer plan would only lower the minimum price of beer but would not require brewers to charge less. The lower price would only apply to beer with less than 5.6-per-cent alcohol content and would not apply to draft beer sold in restaurants and bars. The plan has been criticized by many, especially local craft brewers who say the playing field is not level for small brewers, and advocates against drunk driving, who fear higher consumption with lowered prices.

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