Archive for the ‘#canada’ Tag

Still Waters Distillery :: Art of Drink   Leave a comment

“Across Canada there are roughly 20 to 25 distilleries, however the vast majority of Canadian spirits are produced by only eight of them. Most are foreign owned. The only reason these distilleries remain open is Canadian law states: to be called a Canadian whisky it must be distilled and aged in Canada for a minimum of 3 years. If it wasn’t for that little inconvenience there might be only two or three distilleries in Canada. 

Canadian Distilleries

Crown Royal in Gimli, Manitoba

Canadian Club & Wisers at Hiram Walker in Windsor

Gibson’s at the Schenley Distillery in Valleyfield Quebec

Bacardi rum and vodka at FBM Distillery in Toronto

Canadian Mist in Collingwood, Ontario

Alberta Whisky at Alberta Distillers in Calgary

Black Velvet Distilling in Lethbridge, Alberta

Meaghers in Montreal (owned by Corby)

There are some smaller distilleries including Kittling Ridge (Ontario), Glenora (Nova Scotia), Highwood (Alberta), Iceberg Corp. (Newfoundland). Then there’s a handful of micro-distilleries like Still Waters. Magnotta Winery in Ontario, Prince Edward Distillery in PEI and Okanagan Spirits in British Columbia.

British Columbia seems to be the area in Canada where micro-distillers are taking root, but not easily. Frank Deiter, master distiller of Okanagan Spirits was key in forming the B.C. Artisan Distillers Guild. With Frank’s help, other micro-distilleries starting production like Victoria Spirits, Island Spirits and Merridale Cidery. For every micro-distillery in Canada it remains a difficult task to work within laws that treat spirits as morally reprehensible.

The most frustrating aspect for distillers are the different laws for wineries and breweries. A key issue is that beer and wine are taxed at lower rates, making them more competitive. In some provinces beer and wine can be sold at corner stores or in winery owned boutiques at malls and grocery stores, but spirit sales are severely restricted. In addition to the tax and distribution issues, distilling artisanal products is expensive. The cost of raw materials, operating a still and the warehousing of product for aging can really add up.

These ghosts of temperance laws are a significant reason why white spirits, sugar laden liqueurs and malt beverages have become so popular. Unless a distiller is independently wealthy, it is near impossible to start a distillery without producing a product that can be sold immediately. Flavourless white spirits and sweet liqueurs meet this criteria, but they also attract (or target) young and underage drinkers, leading to binge drinking.

People like vodka because, if made in the modern fashion, it is easy to drink and “doesn’t taste like alcohol”. Well, it actually does taste like alcohol, those people mean it doesn’t have the higher levels of congeners found in other spirits–you know the ones that slow down the drinking rate because you learn to appreciate them. These flavourful spirits also cause young, inexperienced drinkers to refuse to drink more because to their pristine pallets, its harsh.

Even though governments are loathed to take responsibility for poorly written laws, they should really look at the causality of their legislation. The “grand experiment” of prohibition was proven to be a failure but many of the temperance influenced laws are still enforced 80 years after the fact.

The Ontario government is the largest retailer of alcohol on the planet, but their regulations make it almost impossible to start a distillery, leaving the door open to alcoholic beverages like Black Fly, a sickly sweet combination of fruit juice and industrial distilled alcohol. Really, just mix, bottle and distribute. Why employ coopers, copper smiths, distillers, chemists and engineers when you can make alcoholic koolaid. It’s just what the kids like. Cliché, but yes, this is clearly hypocrisy.

Considering the fact that Germany has 800 small and medium-sized distilleries and approximately 23,000 licensed distilleries, really makes Canada look truly prohibitionist. The last time I checked, the great people of Germany make some of the finest, precision engineered, equipment on the planet. I drive a Volkswagon Jetta (Wolfsburg), shave with a Mekur razor and my toaster and electric kettle (Krups) are made in Germany. Who else could put 1750 watts of power into a kettle? When I want my hot water for coffee, I want it now! Even at the lab I work in, we use a multitude of German made Leica Microsystems equipment. We use microtomes that can cut down to 1 micron. That may not mean much to most readers, but trust me, it’s a feat of precision engineering.

Anyway, my point being that I don’t think you can connect the number of distilleries with poor economic and social performance. Germany is still an economic powerhouse with a highly educated population. Teetotallers would have you believe that easy access to alcohol, similar to Germany, is the downfall of a nation. This makes Canada look even more like an outdated temperance haven, except for the government controlled liquor stores which generate billions of dollars in revenue from the sale alcohol. This duality is a perfect example of what happens when politicians talk out of both sides of their mouth.

The reality is that the Canadian system outsources political headaches to foreign distillers. It is a perfect instance of “have one’s cake and eating it too”. Strict laws regarding the manufacture of alcohol remain on the legislative books to appease uptight prohibitionists, while abundant, clean, attractive and nicely organized LCBO stores cater to the imbibers. Political gold!

There is also the factor of political laziness. As they say “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” and considering the wheels fell of the Canadian distilling industry decades ago, there’s no-one left to squeak. With a renewed interest in cocktails and a new generation of distiller entering the market place the current laws will start to face some pressure. The problem is the Canadian bureaucracy has no motivation to improve the situation, and the few remaining major distilleries are quite happy to keep it that way. The liquor store monopolies are complacent because their job is to sell booze and they don’t care where it’s from, they collect the same amount of tax regardless.

It isn’t as hopeless as it may seem. The wine industry successfully lobbied the government for special privileges, and it worked out extremely well. The Canadian ice wine industry created an exquisite product that is world renowned and a source of pride for once reluctant politicians. The wineries are even producing quality wines that are defined by their own unique character. Breweries in Canada are also making headway with dozens of microbreweries popping up around Canada and open discussion about relaxed laws.

Changes for distilleries will require some form of critical mass. Obviously, a few brave soles will need to lead the charge and take the risk of opening distilleries in the hostile Canadian market. From there a core of other supporting businesses will need to develop, but given the history of the wine industry development, the Hollywood phrase “build it and they will come” may be a bit bromide, but it’s applicable.”

via Still Waters Distillery :: Art of Drink.

Posted February 4, 2012 by arnoneumann in Distilleries

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Amid dire warming warnings, Canada is MIA   Leave a comment

Later this month, the countries of the world will gather in Durban, South Africa, to discuss climate change. The omens for progress are poor; the forecast for global warming is worse.So says the International Energy Agency, hardly a left-wing pinko organization but, rather, one that collects and analyzes information for energy-importing industrialized countries.

The IEA minced no words. “On planned policies, rising fossil-fuel energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change.”

“Irreversible and potentially catastrophic” are words not written lightly. They don’t come from the United Nations, the favourite target of the climate-change deniers and skeptics. They don’t pour forth from the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace or the Sierra Club. Rather, they come from the blue chip of energy analysts, relied on by government and industry alike around the world.

The IEA, charged with tracking energy use, reported that, in 2010, emissions of carbon dioxide – the principal greenhouse gas – rose by 5.3 per cent. Little is being done, says the IEA, to “quench the world’s increasing thirst for energy in the long term.” Demand for oil, natural gas and coal continues to rise.

If these trends continue, the world will blow past the target most scientists – and the world’s governments – have said must be achieved if climate change is not to produce negative consequences. That target is a rise of 2 degrees Celsius. Ideally, greenhouse-gas emissions should be reduced sharply so warming doesn’t occur. But anything above that increase, say scientists, would bring on a series of very undesirable events. ”

via Amid dire warming warnings, Canada is MIA – The Globe and Mail.

Posted November 19, 2011 by arnoneumann in Canada, Climate_change, IEA

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How Paul Martin would fix the world – The Globe and Mail   Leave a comment

Paul Martin  post politics …still powerful and persuasive.

“When he’s not on his farm about an hour outside Montreal, it is from that office that Mr. Martin, the man who fixed Canada’s fiscal mess in the 1990s as Jean Chrétien’s finance minister and gave rise to the Group of 20, is waging his many post-political battles. He chairs the Congo Basin Forest Fund, which aims to end poverty in the 10-nation region. He advises the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, which examines critical issues facing the continent. He guides the Martin Aboriginal Educational Initiative, a not-for-profit organization he established to help native youth.

And these days, as governments and central bankers around the world grapple with punishing debt loads, painful public spending cuts and the shocks of the 2008 financial meltdown, his focus is on ensuring such a collapse doesn’t happen again. Frustratingly, he says, people aren’t grasping just how desperate the situation is.

“They think this is an American or British or European problem. It is today, but tomorrow it’s going to be a Chinese problem or it’s going to be an Indian problem. And there’s no reason to think that Chinese banks, Indian banks, when they’re as big as Citigroup, aren’t going to have the same problems.”

So here’s how Mr. Martin, who still advises the International Monetary Fund, would fix the world: “……

Read the entire article…valuable insights …..

via How Paul Martin would fix the world – The Globe and Mail.

Posted September 17, 2011 by arnoneumann in Canada, Politics, Profiles

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Integrating health care necessary for an aging population – The Globe and Mail   Leave a comment

Complimentary article re Canada , the elderly and the Health Care Delivery System. See other post as well.

“Canada’s health-care providers are struggling to retool the system to meet the needs of an aging population that is often facing multiple, chronic medical conditions.

The phenomenon of the growing ranks of the frail elderly in need of different phases of care that often can be provided in the community did not exist 25 years ago. Yet the country’s health-care system remains mired in the 1950s, primarily focused on hospitals and with little in the way of community services to prevent the elderly from languishing in acute-care beds.”


via Integrating health care necessary for an aging population – The Globe and Mail.

Posted July 13, 2011 by arnoneumann in Canada, Geriatrics, Health Care

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Integrated care benefits seniors and cash-strapped government – The Globe and Mail   Leave a comment

Something has to be done in Canada re the demographically growing needs for elderly care and overall health care delivery and costs. Great to hear of some constructive working models that are achieving that.

“For cash-strapped provincial governments, the aging population is a concern because older adults account for a huge proportion of health costs in Canada. People 85 and older consumed $21,000 of health-care spending per capita in 2008, compared with just $1,700 for those between the ages of one and 65, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

“Our main problem is that while the patients have changed, our systems have not,” Samir Sinha, director of geriatrics at the Mount Sinai and University Health Network hospitals in Toronto, said in a recent research paper.

CapitalCare is one of five provincially funded centres in Alberta that meet the complex needs of seniors by providing a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, social worker and pharmacist, as well as recreational activities, all under one roof. The Edmonton site treats an average of 45 to 50 patients a day.

Manitoba has a similar program. The Program of Integrated Managed-care of the Elderly (PRIME) operates in Winnipeg, and the government plans to open a second centre in the city.

“It’s a specialty working with seniors,” said Judy Ahrens-Townsend, program developer and manager of PRIME. “They need holistic care and when they don’t get that, they end up in the system anyway getting care that’s not so effective.”

There are other examples where Canada is making inroads into dealing with seniors, the fastest-growing segment of the population.”


via Integrated care benefits seniors and cash-strapped government – The Globe and Mail.

Posted July 13, 2011 by arnoneumann in Canada, Geriatrics, Health Care

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First Nations seek government-to-government relationship with Ottawa – The Globe and Mail   Leave a comment

Shawn Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is getting and saying it right. When the FIrst Nations of Canada ARE clearly Nations in their own right , will we see a respect of their Peoples , culture ,  spirituality , history , language and contribution to the mosaic of Canada. Much more to be said on this  and I expect that we will see a further shaping of their Soverignty in the ongoing future .


“The treaties that were written before Confederation, the international courts, and the courts in this country have affirmed that negotiations between a government and indigenous people should be on a nation-to-nation basis, said Mr. Atleo. “What we have yet to have is a government with the political will to honour and uphold the recognition of the treaties and of aboriginal title and rights,” he said.

The time has come for a complete transformation of the relationship between Ottawa and the first nations, he said. “And I am really hopeful that the signals that have been sent by the Prime Minister and our work here in Moncton will result in the kind of change that our communities have been working for … ” ”

via First Nations seek government-to-government relationship with Ottawa – The Globe and Mail.

Posted July 12, 2011 by arnoneumann in Canada, First Nations

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Canada: too small not to compete globally – The Globe and Mail   Leave a comment

One word DOES make a difference. Happy Canada Day…may we heed the call of this thought.


“For a long time we said, ‘Canada is too small to compete globally,’ instead of doing what the Swedes said: ‘We are too small not to compete globally.’ ”

via Canada: too small not to compete globally – The Globe and Mail.

Posted July 1, 2011 by arnoneumann in Canada, Competitive

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