Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Crossing Borders, Inspiring Beer: 'Letterkenny' Creators Find Series Has Few Limits

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Crossing Borders, Inspiring Beer: 'Letterkenny' Creators Find Series Has Few Limits

Article excerpt

'Letterkenny' creators just getting started

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When it comes to turning their humble little TV show into the next big thing, the folks behind "Letterkenny" are not about to pump the brakes.

Six fresh episodes of the CraveTV original series debuted over the Canada Day weekend as part of a massive order of 42 episodes by its producer Bell Media. The deal will bring the total to 75 by 2020.

"It's a lot of 'Letterkenny,'" admits creator and actor Jared Keeso as he prepares for the show's debut on the U.S. streaming service Hulu on July 13, where it's sure to amuse Americans thrown by other uniquely Canadian TV comedy exports such as "Red Green," "Corner Gas" and "Trailer Park Boys."

Keeso stars in the series as Wayne, a small-town guy who has raised the practice of "chirping" -- or putting down -- his hockey-playing rivals to an art form. Same goes for the local "Skids" who hang out by the local convenience store and frequently have run-ins with Wayne. It's a slightly ramped up version of characters Keeso encountered over the years in his southwestern Ontario hometown of Listowel.

Will Americans get what all the chirping is about? Absolutely, says executive producer and New Metric Media president Mark Montefiore. American rapper T-Pain is a fan, as is filmmaker Kevin Smith.

Montefiore says he's been tracking comments and merchandise requests from all 50 states -- including Hawaii and Alaska -- before the series even officially premieres in the U.S. A lot of those requests are for beer -- a trademark beverage of the show.

Montefiore says he scouted craft breweries near the series' production base in Sudbury, Ont., eventually teaming with Stack Brewery to make Puppers Premium Lager. It was "tested" by the cast and crew before it went to market.

At the moment, Puppers is available in Ontario at LCBO stores with Montefiore pushing to get it sold in other provinces.

"The beer regulations in this country," he says, "are even tougher than the TV regulations."

One way folks outside Ontario have cracked open a Puppers can is by getting tickets for one of the live cast shows that took place earlier this year in 26 cities across the country. …

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