New minimum bar prices in effect

Two dollars and twenty-five cents; that's the lowest a drink will cost Manitobans now. The Manitoba Liquor Control Commission says the new minimum price for a beer, a glass of wine, or a shot of liquor, is effective immediately.

The MLCC says quantity of alcohol served must also be directly related to the price; for example, a 'double shot' must be at least $4.50.

The changes come from a committee set up last fall to address over-consumption of alcohol, after the death of 20-year old Kris Howard. The Winnipeg man was missing for three weeks after drinking heavily with friends. His body was found in the Red River.

At least one patron in an afternoon bar crowd doesn't believe the new rules will discourage over-consumption. "It doesn't matter if you pay five bucks a beer, you're still gonna drink," he says.

But his friend, who moved to Manitoba from Ontario, thinks a minimum price is a good idea. "It doesn't bother me because $2.25 is cheap. In Ontario this would be four bucks," he says, gesturing to his beer bottle.

"Several other provinces have minimum pricing," says Bob Kelln of the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission. "The only other province as high as this is Saskatchewan."

Another change means servers cannot carry trays of drinks in anticipation of sales. They must only carry what customers have ordered. The Liquor Commission says that's because it was often a different server offering the drinks. So the regular server wouldn't be able to keep track of how many drinks each customer had accepted.