May 21, 2015

Free Brew Donkey! Bureaucrats crack down on small brewery tours -- but you can help fight back

Brian LilleyRebel Co-Founder

Brew Donkey is a small Ottawa based company that offers tours of local breweries.

Customers get bused around to various breweries, sample their fare and enjoy a lunch.

It's safe because no one is driving. And it helps tourism and small businesses.

What could be wrong with that?

Well, plenty according to one industry association.

As you'll see in my report, it's as if they want to make it almost impossible for Brew Donkey to stay in business.

Brew Donkey is fighting back but needs help keeping the lights on while they figure out their next move.

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commented 2015-05-26 15:51:13 -0400
Well put Brian! The Travei Industry Council of Ontario is an “old boys club” consisting of some former and even current travel agents who instead of advocating for reductions in mindless government control, are in the name of “self-regulation” strangling entrepreneurs and failing miserably in original intent of the Travel Industry Act—protecting consumers. There are adequate legal measures to deal with fraud, and private insurance is a far more effective consumer protection measure for other kinds of failures to deliver. Moreover, you mention flakey air carriers—TICO has no teeth whatever to deal with them—the principle examples of failure to deliver. In 30+ years in the travel business I have been a voice in the wilderness advocating for the abolishment of TICO. The public has been hoodwinked, and travel agents have been the facilitators. In this nanny province of Ontario, it is just too risky to allow initiatives like the Ottawa brewery tours, wine tours, river rafting tours etc. to exist without the oversight of big government (through TICO). (By the way, if there is any truth in the previous comment by Barry Kelley, that is just one more reason to abolish TICO.)
commented 2015-05-22 14:48:51 -0400
Peel back the layers and, at the bottom of all this, I’ll bet you’ll find that the Labatts and Molson Brewery unions have filed complaints with the government. Those people hate craft brewers because they are almost all small, non-union operations that compete to some degree with their employers and anything that might promote those businesses is viewed as the unions’ enemy.
commented 2015-05-22 10:28:46 -0400
I wonder how this will impact wine your operators in Niagara?
Personally I think there are several ways to circumvent this idocy.
commented 2015-05-22 09:04:52 -0400
Bravo Zulu – Being a farmer is very much running a business, so you know what I am talking about.
commented 2015-05-22 06:26:38 -0400
So if the big boys like Expedia and Travelocity don’t have to follow Ontario’s rules, why not move to Saskatchewan? I might have said Alberta before the NDP won out there but …
Might have to expand and do tours in Sask. to be fully legal; go big or stay at home.
commented 2015-05-22 00:11:40 -0400
@ Steven Hines – wrote – “Anybody who has not run a business does not understand just how pervasive government has become.”

Try being a farmer – almost ready to sell out.
commented 2015-05-21 22:55:01 -0400
Really fair and balanced opinion piece, good job.
commented 2015-05-21 21:47:44 -0400
Sent in my contribution.
Fight back all the time about everything.
That is the only language these parasites understand.
commented 2015-05-21 21:16:35 -0400
Sorry. Can’t help on this one. Fled Ontario towards the end of “Rae Days” when most of my neighbours were unemployed. I did not want to share the same fate. I had the ability to move…..and I did.
commented 2015-05-21 21:15:18 -0400
I run a small business in Ontario. I employ seven people. One position is almost entirely dedicated to complying with government regulations. Revenue Canada, Revenue Ontario, Canadian Border Services, Health Canada, Ontario Workplace Safety, Environment Canada. It goes on and on. One week, 5 days, we had 6 different government employees show up at our place unannounced to “inspect” our location. Anybody who has not run a business does not understand just how pervasive government has become. Better still, almost every single time we jump through all their hoops it turns out we were doing everything just fine. No action required. And you pay for this army of bureaucrats to beat up on me. When I tell people about the nonsensical requests by all levels of government they look at me as though I have missed something. “That doesn’t make any sense. You must have misunderstood something” is the most common response when I relegate to one of my friends a tale of circular government logic. The single biggest challenge I have had in starting and running a business has been, without question, the government, followed by the government. It seems every person I hire they hire two to shut me down.
commented 2015-05-21 20:34:03 -0400
Typical overregulation of all facets of entrepreneurship. Good ideas get squashed. sometimes I feel that the USA is still an entrepreneurs mecca. True much regulation there also, but small business is allowed to thrive. I was going to mention the benefits of the Alberta approach but that may soon change, and change quickly. :)
commented 2015-05-21 20:30:17 -0400
“Martinet petty bureaucrats make me want to launch my lunch.”

Make sure you are standing in front of the “martinet petty bureaucrats” when you do. Maybe make sure your lunch is accompanied with some of that brew.
commented 2015-05-21 19:56:32 -0400
Guided craft beer pub craws – OUTSTANDING!!
I’d be willing to bet that somewhere deep in the bowels of the bureaucracy a festering minion of the leviathan awakened with a jolt – the very thought of a group of men having a carefree good time put some pinch nosed lefty fembo obsessive- compulsive into the funky shakes – quick to the billions of little known regulations to find a weapon with which to crush this outbreak of patriarchal bliss.

Martinet petty bureaucrats make me want to launch my lunch.