About this project
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):
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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