This Year, You Won’t Find In Quebec A 24-Pack Of Beer Sold at Minimum Price

Once upon a time, big retailers such as Costco and Couche-Tard used to sell most of their 24-packs of beer at the minimum price of beer, letting other competitors bite the dust.

To avoid losing customers, many small independent depanneurs were then forced to sell beer at a loss or without profit for a period of time.

The minimum price was then distorting the market by creating an artificial downward pressure, with consumers having only that minimum price in mind while wholesale prices were a lot higher.

This era seems to be gone, according to a recent DepQuébec survey of beer prices among Quebec retailers compared to the 2017 minimum price (see table below).

Indeed, we have not seen a single 12-pack or 24-pack sold at the minimum price … it’s over! To pay the minimum price, one must buy 48 or more containers at a time .. and yet, not always!

Product
Alcohol Volume
$ Min. Price/L
Packs
Number of Liters
$ Min. Price
COSTCO
MAXI
DÉP. COIN
COUCHE-TARD
Bud Light4 %2.930812 can. 355 ml
4.26
12.49
15.99
16 can. 355 ml
5.68
16.65
19.99
24 can. 355 ml
8.52
24.98
28.00
30 can. 355 ml
10.65
31.21
31.99
48 can. 355 ml
17.04
49.96
49.99
60 can. 355 ml.
21.30
62.43
62.49
Coors Light4 %2.930815 bot. 341 ml
4.26
14.99
18.99
28 bot. 341 ml
9.55
27.98
28.99
48 can. 355 ml
17.04
49.96
49.99
60 can. 355 ml.
21.30
62.43
62.49
Budweiser5 %3.211220 can. 355 ml.
7.10
22.80
24.99
24 bot. 341 ml
8.18
26.27
29.99
30.99
30 can. 355 ml
10.65
36.65
36.99
Labatt Blue5 %3.21126 bout. 341 ml
2.05
6.58
10.99
24 bot. 341 ml
8.18
26.27
30.99
48 bot. 341 ml
16.36
52.54
53.00
Molson Canadian5 %3.211212 bot. 341 ml
4.09
13.14
17.99
15 bot. 341 ml
4.26
14.99
18.99

In the above table, all retailers, even Costco, sell beer above the minimum price when it comes to packs up to 24 to 30 containers.

The current minimum price for a 24-pack of beer bottles is $ 23.97 for the Bud Light (4% alcohol) or $ 26.27 for the Molson Dry (5.5%). The regular price is now $ 30.99 for these packs (which is still much less than Ontario’s $ 39.50 at the Beer Store).

Indeed, the smaller the volume, the greater the gap with the minimum price. Conversely, the bigger the volume, the closest prices become to the minimum one, like for the 48 or 60 packs.

Ex: for a “six-pack” of beer bottles of Labatt Blue at the Dépanneur du Coin, the minimum price is $ 6.58 and the retail price is $ 10.99, a difference of 67%. But for a 48-pack of beer cans of Coors Light at Maxi, the minimum price is $ 49.96 and the retail price, $ 49.99, is pretty much the same.

The last thing that stands outs from this survey is how each retailer tries to distinguish themselves through exclusive packs.

Ex: Costco stands out with 28 and 60-pack of beer bottles and cans. Couche-Tard offers 16-pack of beer cans. Maxi offers some 15-pack.

The industry tends therefore to leave aside the price war to the benefit of a price confusion approach … because the name of the game right now is to make it harder for consumers to figure out if they are making a deal or not!

This is certainly good news for small independent depanneurs, who can finally breathe a little and cash some profits.

Even Costco, the king of low prices, no longer sells beer at the minimum price like it used to. This 28-pack of Coors Light, for example, details $ 28.99, which is $ 1.02 more than the minimum price of $ 27.98. However, for larger quantities of 48 and 60 containers, Costco still sells at (almost) minimum price.

DepQuébec

Cet article est rédigé par DepQuébec, le premier portail web au Québec de l'industrie des dépanneurs. / This article is written by DepQuebec, the first web portal devoted to the Quebec depanneur industry.

DepQuébec has 441 posts and counting. See all posts by DepQuébec

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