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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fake 'green' campaign kills real jobs

The LCBO's anti-glass crusade is all about optics, not facts 

By David Menzies
More than 400 employees of the Owens-Illinois glass plant in Toronto received a shock on Tuesday when they discovered their factory is being tossed upon the scrap heap of obsolescence come September.
What killed the plant? A robust loonie? Skyrocketing energy costs? Nope. The silent assassin is none other than the Ontario government's liquor monopoly and its disingenuous pursuit of a bogus "green" strategy.
In a nutshell, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) now deems glass bottles to be environmentally-unfriendly. Waste is measured by weight in Ontario, and glass is heavy, so out with glass. As a result, the LCBO is actively strong-arming suppliers to opt for other forms of packaging. As Owen-Illinois CEO and chairman Albert Stroucken notes in a July 2, 2008 letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty, the LCBO has been "aggressively encouraging — and in some cases effectively forcing — our customers in Ontario and in other jurisdictions to switch from using glass packaging to so-called 'alternative' materials such as plastic and aseptic cartons."
Unfortunately for Owens-Illinois workers, the LCBO's anti-glass campaign is all about optics, not facts. The LCBO's recent self-congratulatory marketing push hailed its campaign as "Enviro Chic: The Evolution of Packaging." The liquor monopoly crowned itself a green champion thanks to a policy of "challenging" its suppliers to reduce packaging.

Much more at

Editorial: The LCBO is the LCBO is the LCBO

As you may know, the LCBO  has minions patrolling the Internet for mentions of its corporate name.The LCBO looks at websites; the LCBO looks at blogs. The LCBO subscribes to emailed newsletters. All of this in addition to the LCBO having  a huge press clipping service. If you want to draw the LCBO to attention at your website, then you need to place the word LCBO as often as you can. This way the mention of LCBO in your blog will rank higher in searches and in Google alerts. LCBO is not a word to bandy about -- LCBO is a search term, and the more occurrences of LCBO in your post, the more attention the LCBO spiders will give it. Or their bots...whatever. Just use the word LCBO over and over, as I have just done. Especially use LCBO in your headline or topic line, use LCBO as often as you can. Signed, the LCBO...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bag People at LCBO

According to a leaked internal document, LCBO staff have a pool running on when the last plastic bag will be issued to a customer, and which store will have it. The leading contender appears to be Timmins...More on this story as it develops.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mystery palate close to being identified...stay tuned...

Who tasted the Chateau Latour 1971 and said it was pinot noir? Here are some responses....
BUT FIRST: It was Harry Waugh, the Brit wine writer, who was asked when was the last time he mistook a claret for a Burgundy. He replied, 'Not since lunch.' (In case you didn't know, Claret is Brit talk for Bordeaux).
One major wine writer wrote to me:  "If you find out who this was, please share it. I have not tasted a '71 Latour since I gulped my last bottle in 1999.  But, to be fair, I recall it had lost much of its original power and fruit (71 was not a fantastic year), so I can see where a certain wine critic could get confused. geeze I wish I got invited to tastings where they served Latours!"
Another major said "Why not narrow it down by asking who it was NOT. Not me!  (I don't even get invited to these high-end tastings.)"
Perhaps it was not even a writer: the Globe identified the taster as "one of Canada's best-known wine critics". Wine critics also work for the LCBO...Perhaps it was a member of their vaunted tasting panel?



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wine connoisseurs - I call them cons (by Beppi Crosariol)

"At a recent trade dinner in Toronto, one of Canada's best-known wine critics guessed a 1971 Chateau Latour, a famous cabernet sauvignon from Bordeaux, was a pinot noir, a variety so distinct from cabernet as to almost be another fruit."
WHO is the wine critic? Readers want to know...
Full story (but no name given) is at...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

LCBO puts a cork in employee freebies

LCBO puts a cork in employee freebies



Toronto Sun, Saturday July 19, 2008


Let's all raise a glass of bubbly and say mazel tov! as we toast the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

The reason? Nearly a year after being exposed for possibly breaking the Criminal Code over crown corporation employees receiving gifts and gratuities from suppliers, the provincial liquor board has decided to do the right thing.

In other words, the LCBO -- which operates under the oft-repeated mantra of "social responsibility" -- is putting the cork in freebies.

The back story: Last August it was revealed in these pages several LCBO employees were receiving gifts -- ranging from magnums of wine and cases of beer to hockey tickets -- from the LCBO's various booze suppliers. The allegations, according to an anonymous LCBO whistleblower, included:

n   No one at the LCBO is keeping track of which employees are receiving gifts, so it is unknown exactly how widespread the problem is;

n   Some LCBO employees are apparently not declaring gifts from suppliers as taxable benefits.

Of note, the LCBO has long had an internal policy pertaining to "gifts and gratuities" in its administration manual. The policy reads: "No LCBO employee should accept any gifts or gratuities from any supplier organization, except for promotional items of a nominal value. The Board views gifts having a value over $200 per annum from any individual or organization as the nominal threshold."


More at  www.torontosun.com



Friday, July 18, 2008

LCBO Motto suggestions roll in...

David Lawrason contributes "Hell no, we won't go"
Billy Munnelly posits "Liquor for Life"
Ogden Nash sends in "Liquor is quicker"

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Repatriation of Vincor?

Word on the street is that Vincor is being repatriated. All the foreign
holdings and endeavours will remain with Constellation, but the
Canadian aspects of Vincor will be sold off to Canadians. Constellation
will use the proceeds for cherry picking and buying US properties from
Foster's, such as Beringer. Stay tuned for further developments...News
coming as it happens, confirmations and denials notwithstanding.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mike Weir departs Niagara?

That's the loud rumour: Golfer Mike Weir to decamp from Niagara's Creekside, possibly to move on to a British Columbia winery...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nuremburg trials and wine marketing: there is a connection!!

"It was such a wild time, and the best period for advertising, so much looser. We had Blue Nun, which was a terrible wine to sell to people. If there were a Nuremburg trial for selling bad wine, we should have been hanged."
Wow, this quote appeared in the New York Time Magazine, June 22, 2008, p.35, from uber marketeer/madison avenue "mad man" Jerry Della Femina, in reference to PR work in the late 1950s/early 1960s cusp.
Has anything changed? Your comments, please...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Contest for LCBO Motto

Today, the LCBO has announced that it is creating a new motto for its services, a sort of celebration of 80 years of liquor regulation in Ontario. Inspired by the search for a new theme for "Hockey Night in Canada", a spokesman for the LCBO stated that the new Financial Booze Institution (licensed last month) has decided to fast track a competition for its new motto...
There will only be one winner for the Grand Prize, which is free liquor for life -- so long as you pay the bottle deposit and carry it out in canvas reusable bags with the LCBO logo and motto on the outside. . (And ain't that a great motto? "Liquor for life")
Gothic Epicures has taken up the challenge and is prepared to collect and analyze choices for the Grand Prize. You may safely submit entries to this site, posted below as "comments". Be aware that the LCBO closely monitors this site as a "site of interest". They have Google News and Blog Alerts to track every single mention of the word "LCBO" every hour of the day on the web, employing a full-time press attache to collect, collate, and synthesize.  Like rust, the web and the LCBO never sleep. Also, you must be over 19 years of age in order to submit entries. There are no Aeroplan points for this contest.
We at Gothic Epicures would like to kick things off by suggesting "Liquor for Life"...No?  How about "Alcohol -- it really works!". Perhaps "Cellared in Canada" might be effective. Or, "LCBO -- Ministry of Finance's darling".
Your call, ladies and germs..