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A documentary exploring the peculiar system of alcohol retail and distribution in Ontario, Canada
A documentary exploring the peculiar system of alcohol retail and distribution in Ontario, Canada
132 backers pledged CA$ 11,752 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Straight Up: The Issue of Alcohol in Ontario project video thumbnail
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CA$ 11,752

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We’ve travelled all over the world, and we are fans of good wine and especially tasty craft beers. We came to make this documentary with a lot of the same simple questions that many people have about the alcoholic beverage retailing system in Ontario. Why does it seem like there are a lot of products we see elsewhere that you simply can’t get in Ontario? Why is the same product in Ontario often so much more expensive than just across the border in New York or Michigan, or even Quebec? Why can’t we open a craft beer store of our own? Why does the Ontario government allow three foreign-owned companies to operate a near monopoly on 80% of the beer sales in the province?

As it turns out, none of the questions have simple answers. When we started digging into the issue, we found that Ontario has a unique history with regard to beverage alcohol regulation. It’s a touchy subject with a lot of people. Unlike France or California, where their wines are proudly consumed domestically and exported around the world as a cultural product as much as a beverage, in Ontario, the government preoccupation seems to be “control”. The market is also subject to a lot of restrictive and seemingly arbitrary rules emanating from multiple pieces of legislation and old government institutions. The retail environment is dominated by two entities: the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), and Brewer’s Retail Inc, or The Beer Store.

The most important thing we learned is that there are hundreds of small and medium sized wineries and breweries in Ontario creating thousands of unique, tasty, interesting, locally-made products, the majority of which will never see the inside of an LCBO or Beer Store outlet.

We don’t really know how to untangle this issue, but we want to tell you what we found out.

In our preview video (in order of appearance):

Dr. Gary Genosko - Professor, Communications, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Dr. Gary Genosko - Professor, Communications, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Dr. Dan Malleck - Associate Professor, Medical History, Brock University
Dr. Dan Malleck - Associate Professor, Medical History, Brock University
Grand River Brewing: Bob Hanenberg, President and Rob Creighton, Brewmaster
Grand River Brewing: Bob Hanenberg, President and Rob Creighton, Brewmaster
Hillary Dawson - President, Wine Council of Ontario
Hillary Dawson - President, Wine Council of Ontario
Jason Fisher - Founder and President of the Indie Alehouse, Toronto
Jason Fisher - Founder and President of the Indie Alehouse, Toronto
Silversmith Brewing Company: Chris Pontsioen, Owner and Matt Swan, Owner
Silversmith Brewing Company: Chris Pontsioen, Owner and Matt Swan, Owner
Anindya Sen - Associate Professor, Economics, University of Waterloo
Anindya Sen - Associate Professor, Economics, University of Waterloo
Steve Beauchesne -  Co-founder and CEO of Beau's All Natural Brewing Company
Steve Beauchesne - Co-founder and CEO of Beau's All Natural Brewing Company
Jim  Brickman - Founder, Brick Brewing Company
Jim Brickman - Founder, Brick Brewing Company

Music: http://chicodusty.bandcamp.com/ 

Risks and challenges

We have already conducted more than a dozen interviews for the documentary, and edited the promo video you see here. AJ is a seasoned sound engineer and audio guru. Peter is an experienced writer, photographer, and videographer. And of course, making a documentary is part investigative journalism and part visual art, so we are working very hard to present the facts and figures of this story in a way that isn’t boring. That’s why we are running this Kickstarter project. It’s just the two of us working on it so far, and as we get deeper into the post-production process, we will probably run into issues that we will have to turn to others to work out for us. And we don’t expect them to do it for free.

When it’s done, we hope you will get to see our documentary on television or at a festival. If that doesn’t work out, rest assured, we will take care of our Kickstarter supporters first.

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    Swanky limousine tour of the filmmakers' favourite Ontario breweries and brewpubs, plus digital download, DVD, and Thank You.

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Funding period

- (30 days)