BROCKVILLE — Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark is raising a toast in celebration after a decision by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) that would allow a local cidery to sell directly to consumers.
The AGCO announced it has temporarily removed the requirement for cideries to have five acres of planted fruit in order to operate a retail store. Removal of the so-called ‘Five-Acre Rule’ is a huge boost to Flying Canoe Hard Cider in Spencerville, which had previously been unable to sell directly to customers.
“When Flying Canoe owner Pete Rainville brought this issue forward and told me that this red tape was preventing him from growing his business by selling directly to customers eager to purchase his cider, I immediately started working on getting the regulation changed,” said Clark. “I want to thank my colleagues, Finance Minister Rod Phillips and Attorney General Doug Downey, for their tremendous support in making this happen so quickly.”
“What I thought was an insurmountable task against unbelievable odds has been changed by an open-minded Ontario government, but not without the tremendous support of our community and especially MPP Steve Clark and other local elected officials,” said Rainville. “Rules can be modernized. The system works.”
Clark said the Ontario government recognizes these are extraordinary times and that the province must do everything it can to support businesses.
“Small businesses in Leeds and Grenville and right across Ontario have felt a devastating impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and I’m proud that our government is acting decisively to remove these unnecessary barriers,” said Clark.