The Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve (Image: Québec Maple Syrup Producers)

In a small Canadian town with a population of 5600, on an unremarkable road next to a hardware chain, a warehouse holds 45 million kilograms of the country's liquid gold.

It is so precious that 10 years ago thieves made off with nearly 3 million kilograms, a loot valued at an eye-watering $25 million. A third of it was never recovered.

The warehouse holds the world's only maple syrup reserve, controlled by a syrup cartel, the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP).