Ah, so that is how it is done in NY state:
When the brewery tried to terminate its contract, the wholesaler sued under New York's alcoholic beverage control law—which binds brewers to one distributor within a marketing region once an agreement is in place—Brooklyn Brewery shelled out more than $200,000 in legal fees and had to pay the wholesaler an undisclosed sum to get the divorce it wanted... Many of New York's signature beer makers allege that wholesalers, protected by the obscure statute, often get away with failing to actively support or sell products. This, the brewers say, is an unfair practice and hampers their ability to grow their businesses. They are lobbying to change the law.
Being a fairly active beer shopper in upstate New York, I hadn't appreciated how the wholesaler control worked. I knew that each county seemed to have its own levels of access to craft beers and I had twigged to that each zone seemed to be under the control of one distributor... but I hadn't realized that there was a statute backing the contract. See, if you and I have a contract, that is a deal between us. If the state passes a law, that is a set of rules for everyone. But to pass a statute to enforce contracts is a bit of double dipping leading, as you can imagine, to more than a few unconscionable results. Interestingly, the article says the law has only existed since 1996 and was an effort to break the control the big brewers had on the marketplace.
Most interesting, of course, is an intelligent discussion of the role of the law and the beer market by the legislators and lobbyists quoted. Fat chance of seeing that in Ontario. No hint of a morality argument in all of it, just how to cut the pie.