05/29/2013 17:27 EDT | Updated 07/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Beer returns to Kuujjuaq after near 20-year absence

For the first time in nearly two decades, residents of the northern community of Kuujjuaq can now buy a case of beer at the local co-op store.

It's $60 for a 12-pack ($55 for co-op members), there's only one store in town selling it and there's a one case per person per day maximum. But it's good news for the community of 2,400 people and for the region of Nunavik, where places to buy alcohol are few and far between.

"People drink beer. I think it's a bit naive to think they're going to stop drinking or slow down because it's not available,” said George Berthe, who manages the co-op's beer sales for a company called Suluk.

“For the past 12 to 15 years, there have been alcohol-related incidents, like every community or every other town in Quebec where alcohol is available."

The community had voted in the mid-1990s to stop the sale of beer after a rash of alcohol-related deaths, but a recent local referendum reversed the decision.

Berthe and members of Kuujjuaq's co-op association are encouraging clients to enjoy responsibly.