The Great Canadian Syrup Robbery

Last week it was reported that a massive robbery had taken place with up to $30 million worth of goods moved. The goods in question? Syrup—Canadian maple syrup from the Quebec strategic maple syrup reserve.

Yes, roughly 10 million pounds of syrup were stolen from a facility located about 100 miles east of Montreal. Given the typical storage of these reserves—the drum-style barrels—that works out to what the Wall Street Journal estimates is more than 15,000 barrels worth of sticky, syrupy goodness.

The theft is particularly damaging at a particularly damaging time for the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, as syrup yields are expected to be lower this year in part because of poor weather in the U.S.

The question remains, though: why was Canada stockpiling maple syrup? Like most reserve funds, this was in place to control supply and demand. Quebec represents 75 percent of total syrup product, but syrup can be a fickle mistresses—supply rises and falls with the weather. For instance, in 2008, with reserves limited and harvest poor, prices per pound rocketed from $2.40 to $4.00. Preventing fluctuations like this is the Federation’s goal, which led them to accumulate up to 37 million pounds of maple syrup across several warehouses. This reserve has been helpful in dealing with surprise drops in supply as well as rapid increases in demand, as with Japan in the early aughts.

Worry not, though, syrup fans: the heist represented only a quarter of the province’s reserved, refined maple sap. And, as this heist was most likely done by professionals (who else could move 10 million pounds of syrup?), it is expected that it will re-enter the market.

Below, watch how maple syrup is made.


Wall Street Journal
The Atlantic

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