Price lock

Sherry Martell
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Cumberland County barkeeps have no qualms about regulating the minimum price of liquor

Bill King, manager of Duncan's Pub in Amherst, pours a draft for a custormer. King says he would support a regulated minimum price on alcohol at bars. Darrell Cole - Amherst Daily?NewsDarrell Cole - Amherst Daily?News
AMHERST - Local bar operators like the idea of a regulated minimum drink price putting all watering holes across the province on an even keel.
Bill King, manager of Duncan's Pub on Victoria Street in Amherst,said he would gladly support a government regulated minimum price cap for alcoholic beverages served in cabarets, bars and pubs.
" I think that would be great," said King. " It does away with the miserable dollar drink stuff. Nobody makes any money at that, all it does is cut everybody's throat."

Bill King, manager of Duncan's Pub in Amherst, pours a draft for a custormer. King says he would support a regulated minimum price on alcohol at bars. Darrell Cole - Amherst Daily?NewsDarrell Cole - Amherst Daily?News
AMHERST - Local bar operators like the idea of a regulated minimum drink price putting all watering holes across the province on an even keel.
Bill King, manager of Duncan's Pub on Victoria Street in Amherst,said he would gladly support a government regulated minimum price cap for alcoholic beverages served in cabarets, bars and pubs.
" I think that would be great," said King. " It does away with the miserable dollar drink stuff. Nobody makes any money at that, all it does is cut everybody's throat."
He said cheap drinks promote binge drinking, taking away from the social aspect of a night out on the town. As a small establishment, he feels a cap on the minimum price would ultimately help boost bar profits.
"We don't get a very large volume so we have to make money on every drink we sell," said the manager. "The way it is now, it doesn't matter to the big guys if they sell one drink today because they'll sell 500 tomorrow."
The current minimum cost of a drink at Duncan's Pub is $4.50.
The issue of cheap drinks came to light after several alcohol related brawls broke out in downtown Halifax last December. Police arrested 38 people outside a bar offering low cost alcoholic beverages.
Last week, the provincial NDP renewed calls in the legislature for minimum drink prices in light of the holiday season.
Jason James, a bartender at the Lamp Cabin Dining Room and Lounge in Springhill, said he would also support a regulated minimum price for spirits and beer.
"In the cities it would make a difference because they are having a lot of problems, but I don't think it would make much of a difference here," he said.
Currently the minimum price of beer or a bar shot at the Lamp Cabin is $3.85.
An official with the Amherst Police service said if the cost of alcohol limits people's ability to access it, it would result in less consumption and probably less problems for officers on patrol.
"Certainly, without a doubt, alcohol is directly linked to the majority of problems we have to deal with on Friday and Saturday nights," said deputy chief Ian Naylor.
"When people drink a lot it certainly increases the potential to cause problems."

Organizations: Amherst Police

Geographic location: Amherst, Cumberland County, Victoria Street Halifax Springhill

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Recent comments

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 11:24

    canker sores of society? You mean people with incomes lower than yours? well well well, at least the upper crust (or more accurately the festering lesions of society) have a place to go to spend top dollar so as not to mingle with the canker sores. br As for a law creating a cap on prices. How very socialist and useless. Quite likely, even if it goes ahead, the cap will be $2.00 or $2.50. Basically it will have no affect in Amherst because I ain't ever seen $1.00 shooters or drinks in Amherst. br br And maybe if they raise the prices high enough then and finally then the festering lesions can get drunk in peace while the canker sores can drink at home before heading to Duncans. Maybe they should create a law that bars people from watering holes based on income? Isn't that the same thing?

  • Huge
    January 18, 2010 - 11:20

    Hmmm, price fixing and profiteering is what this boils down to.

    Aren't these places all supposed to actually compete with each other for our business?

  • repsonsiblity
    January 18, 2010 - 11:19

    I suspect that the emergency room is also busy on the weekends because of alcohol related cases. It would be good to see all individuals that go to the emergency rooms on weekends for alcohol self induced problems be required to pay for their medical treatment.

  • Chaz
    January 18, 2010 - 11:03

    Maybe they should lower the prices at Duncan's for Booze.
    Considering you usually have to wait 2+ hours, for a Piece of fish and a glass of wine.
    It may be worth it then, Great Atmosphere though

  • Lilly
    January 18, 2010 - 11:02

    I like Duncans alot, but it seems like every time I want to go there there never seems to be enough room for anyone...never anywhere to sit. I have only ate there once or twice and the food was mediocre at best. But on a night when it is not so packed I like to sit down and be able to listen to some great live music! almost feels like you are not in Amherst. And Jason is right, a price cap will not effect Amherst at all....and to responsibilty from NS: what do you consider alcohol self induced problems? do you mean alcoholism? please explain how this would make any sense to force people into paying for thier treatment?

  • Snoose
    January 18, 2010 - 11:01

    To *Ids from NB* ,
    I can assure you that I'm from the here & now,lol. If you had BOTHERED to read all the previous posts, I was referring to the unfortunate sterotype that many in society have about Alcoholism.
    If you had bothered to read the previous posts, you would see I was speaking from personal experience and I wasn't throwing stones.
    If you had bothered to read the previous posts, than you wouldn't feel the need to be so defensive and take things out of context :o)
    A drunk, is a drunk, is a drunk means that ANYONE can be offensive when they drink.
    You are right about one thing though. Anyone can abuse booze, drugs,etc and be abusive out in public and behind closed doors, but the particular individual who was interrupting the play & running around barefoot just happened to be a teacher!
    It could of been anyone bud...maybe you'll be offensive and verbally abusive at the next dinner party you attend. Oh joy!
    I'm sure everyone will look the other way, or at least understand that it's just a drink :o)

  • Snoose
    January 18, 2010 - 11:01

    I'm going out on a limb with my post as I've been reading all the responses. If it seems like I've *been there, done that* it's because I have.
    Minimum price rules/bylaws/legislation, take your pick won't work, IMO. When a person wants to self-medicate with booze they will find a way to spend everything down to their last penny, or take money from the rent, groceries, car payment etc to do it!
    Alcoholism, binge drinking, weekend drinker...whichever you are out there, they will find a way. They will offend you, interrupt your evening & embarrass you despite your postal code, income bracket or where you were born :o)
    It doesn't matter if you're at the 'tree', Teazer's, Duncan's or Dinner Theatre...they will find a way. Trust me when I say that you can't find much more intimate atmosphere then Dinner Theatre ;o)
    In fact soemtimes it will happen during a company Xmas dinner @ above mentioned Dinner Theatre (sad but true!)
    Being so out of control as to interrupt the actors during their dialouge, and running around the theatre in their bare feet to be sure :o)
    So see ladies & gents, you don't need to be down on your luck to be a drunk. A drunk, is a drunk, is a drunk. You can be a cashier or you can EVEN be a teacher!!
    I'm just so relieved that this time after 2 yrs, it wasn't me...I thank god EVERY day.

  • nofreebee
    January 18, 2010 - 10:58

    Get drunk you pay. Pay for the ride to the police station. Pay for your overnight stay in jail. Need treatment at the hospital you pay. Go to court pay for the ride, pay for the proceedings, pay everyone by the hour for their services. If you can afford to drink to the moron tipping point you can afford to pay. No jail time... cash or community service ( IE cleaning puked filled jail cells ) Merry Christmas.

  • Newmack
    January 18, 2010 - 10:57

    Your right about the food at Duncan's. It's the most consistently inconsistent restaurant I can think of. The same menu item will differ so much between one table and and the next a person has to wonder where the quality control is. Wish the food was as good as the atmosphere....

  • Rachel
    January 18, 2010 - 10:53

    Regulating alcohol prices is a step in the right direction I believe.

    I have seen many people sent to the hospital from alcohol poisioning because they were able to buy so many drinks.

    I have seen fights in and outside of the bars because of too many drinks being consumed, I have also seen police officers injured while trying to control the situation.

    If there is a minimum price it perhaps people will drink less because they are not willing to spend a large amount of money or they are not able to afford as much. This could possibly result in less fights and less drunks in the emergency room.

    Next time your in the ER with your child or spouse and you'ar waiting 8 hours because of a few drunk fools perhaps you will think a minimum drink price may be a good idea.

  • cc
    January 18, 2010 - 10:52

    I have a lot of time for Mr King and totally support his point of view here . Any law that can get people to stop abusing themselves and others is welcome and pronto .Anything that will prevent people from eating,smoking,or drinking too much is needed .These louts that get drunk and half kill one another in skid row tavern or blood alley should have their drinking establishment privledges suspended . The minimum drink law should also have a section whereby the local police can ban people from licensed establishments . The administration would be very easy whereby the police merely notify all local taverns and lounges of the names of nusience ,fighting ,rowdy offenders and period of suspension .

  • Jack on the rocks
    January 18, 2010 - 10:50

    I say drink and be merry.No matter what the price.Merry Xmas,HOHOHO.

  • Amanda
    January 18, 2010 - 10:50

    This has nothing to do with Duncans, and the business owners and everything to do with the problems we face in society.. there are alot of issues amherst (and plenty other communities INCLUDING in BRITISH COLUMBIA) face because of alchol. Things need to be regulated so the health of our communities and the attitudes on alchol are positive! Few of you people were wise enough to go beyond the headline here and see what the real issue is....

  • Ids
    January 18, 2010 - 10:49

    What teachers can't drink? What century are you from man? so you saw someone who is a teacher that drank, get over it!!!

  • HB
    January 18, 2010 - 10:48

    Listen up proles, you're gonna pay top dollar for booze whether you like it or not.

    For those supporters of price fixing (which is what this is, who do you think is really behind this), I have news for you - high prices at the bar will not stop violent behaviour. It just means the 'canker sores' will down a couple of 40's of Colt 45 before going out to save money.

    This is all about collusion and control of the proletariat, and has nothing to do with 'safety'.

  • responsibility
    January 18, 2010 - 10:47

    Lily from PEI: If you did not understand what I wrote, talk to a doctor who works an emergency ward on a weekend and he/she will mostly likely tell you how frustrated they are that they have to work on a drunk while people such as Rachael referred to, have to wait up to 8 hours. As well, in some communities doctors get called away from their familes at 2:00am to go to the emergency ward because some drunk has some severe wound due to that fact he/she was drinking too much alcohol.
    My point is if you are going to set a minimum price as a factor to stop over drinking then having to pay for expensive medical coverage may also help in preventing some of the over drinking and foolish behavior that goes with it.

    Most of the people causing these problems are not alcoholics. Alcoholics suffer from a disease and price setting and paying for emergency medical care is not going to stop them from abusing alcohol. As someone who has had two reformed alcoholics in their family all one has to do is attend an AA meeting and you will understand that alcohoism does not discriminate based on income, sex, race etc. I think this was one of Snoose's points.

  • Newmack
    January 18, 2010 - 10:44

    I never said anything about income status....i make less than some of these people that I was referring to. Just because you have money doesn't make you a better person....that's not what I meant. Money doesn't mean you have class. br ***

  • Robert
    January 18, 2010 - 10:43

    Let's regulate everything Comrades! What do we, the masses, need to decide for ourselves in the first place? We dont know whats best for us. The magnificent government will look out for the peoples welfare. Freedom of choice is far overrated anyhow. Fly the banner of socialism and never fend for ourselves. As sarcastic as Im being right now it appears we are allowing ourselves to be led down that path like a bunch of sheep to slaughter. When do we tell our masters in power that we can choose for ourselves? Why cant we enjoy the many flavours of honest competition instead of being forced to have vanilla everywhere we go? If someone cant continue operating because his booze is too expensive and folks go elsewhere... so be it. Why do we need to keep perpetuating this regulation BS? Cant cut it in competition with other businesses? Too bad... Close up shop. Pretty soon, if this trend continues, everything, everywhere, will all cost the same... will all be the same. Well all be walking around, dressed in grays and browns while we trudge though our meaningless lives always driven by big brother who waves the flag of socialist control....

    Might make for a good movie but Ive got no interest in playing a part in it.

  • Alan
    January 18, 2010 - 10:42

    After the Rambler game on Saturday night, let's get liquored up at the Elm tree and go beat up everyone at Duncan's, take their snooty money, get a Bambino's pizza for Jason Warham then go to the hospital and hang out and wait for those who are getting beat up come to the emergeny room? By the way, we'll make a movie out of it. Whatdaya say? Sounds like the epitome of an Amherst Saturday night.

    Gimme a break.

  • HB
    January 18, 2010 - 10:37

    cc: What right do you have to dictate what people do to themselves? I never want to live in a society that uses a prison rule book as the law of the land.

    What is it to you if there are establishments where people get drunk and cut loose? If you don't like it, don't go. There are plenty of tamer establishments, such as Duncan's where you don't have to put up with it. We still live in a more or less free society. If you want your morality legislated, move to China.

    It's a slippery slope when we start legislating everything people can do. Soon there will be minimum prices and taxes on McDonalds, hairspray, clorinated water, processed meat, candy and all other things that are classified as self-abuse. We already have price fixing on things like milk, cigarettes and gasoline.

    Let the free market decide. If people are allegedly getting too drunk and violent at certain establishments, the management of those establishments will soon realize that people stopped coming because of it and change their policies and prices. However, if there are places where people can get drunk cheap and fight, and it continues to be successful, the so be it, let them have it. Maybe they'll kill each other off. It's not like you're forced to go to these places yourself.

  • troy
    January 18, 2010 - 10:35

    Ya,,put a minimum price on pizza too,,,while your at it put it on gas,,,and you might as well put it on Cigarettes too,,,I mean,,lets completely get rid of competition so the average guy has no choice in going someplace for a good deal,,,,I bet all the bar owners love this Idea,,,this way they they stick it in our asses every round and every night!!! Thank God I am in British Columbia where government and business owners don't drum up such stupid ideas!!!!! Good ole Amherst,,some things will never change...

  • Concerned
    January 18, 2010 - 10:33

    I agree with Newmack, you pay for the atmosphere and the service. If I go to a beer fest in some tent, I expect cheap beer and I get what comes with it, like an elbow in the ribs as your gettting it. If I want to relax and listen to soft music, I certainly don't mind paying more for it.
    Get real

  • Newmack
    January 18, 2010 - 10:29

    Places like Duncan's that have higher beer prices usually have higher prices for a reason. You are not only paying for the drink, but you are paying for the atmosphere. Its nice to sit down have a few beer and listen to someone play songs on an acoustic guitar or have a nice meal with friends at a quiet table. When I want this type of stuff I don't mind paying a little extra because I don't have to put up with loud mouth idiots starting fights and acting like complete morons. I USUALLY find that the higher beer prices keep out these canker sores of society because those are the type of people who want cheep beer and lots of it with a whole group of people who act like they do. The Elm Tree Tavern most of the time has these pillars of the community, who on a regular weekend basis, do nothing but fight. I have been at both places numerous times and not once have I seen the so much as an argument at Duncan's where as at the Elm Tree it is almost a given that at some point on a Friday or Saturday night there are going to be fights.Now I know the Elm Tree is a much bigger spot than Duncan's, but if the price of booze has a regulated minimum price who's to say that those immature idiots won't start going to places like Duncan's because the price of the beer is the same?
    I know many times I've heard those people comment that they wouldn't go to Duncan's cause the beer there is too expensive. Be careful what you wish for Bill King, you just may get your wish...