Craft Cider in Canada
Without a doubt there is a Craft Cider revolution happening around the world and Canada is no exception.
Cider’s history in Canada begins during the 1600’s with the first records of cider production showing up in Montreal, Quebec. Prohibition of alcohol in municipal, provincial, and national levels through various points of the 19th and 20th centuries saw the near extinction of cider production in the nation. Fast forward to today and cider has made its comeback, with production and sales at an all-time high.
Craft Cider Growth in Canada
According to Euromonitor International, cider and perry grew 14% in 2016 but the data also shows that the leading players in the industry are mass-production companies, Constellation Brands and Molson Canada. This means that Growers Cider and the Molson Canadian Cider are still dominating the market, but this is changing.
Craft cider makers are popping up around the nation creating world-class cider, with the majority of producers hailing from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Of the Best In Class at GLINTCAP 2017, Canadian cider makers from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec won in at least 10 categories.
Looming Problem for Canadian Cider Industry
However, one of the biggest problems I have found in the cider industry is that it is still difficult for consumers to get the cider they love on a regular basis. This is a result of provincial alcohol regulations that have been resistant or dare I say unable to comprehend the concept of craft cider.
For example, in Ontario, cideries are generally treated the same as traditional wineries on the premise that they have an orchard and are harvesting and fermenting fruit. If you are treated as a winery, you are taxed like one – and the cost is high! (Higher than breweries, that is for certain) As a result, cideries can do nothing but markup their product in order to make amends with high production costs.
Much like Ontario, difficulties with the expenses involved and the rigid alcohol regulations in New Brunswick have made it hard for cider makers to bring their content in NB liquor stores. It took 2 years for Red Rover Craft Cider just to get into stores.
Bright Future for Cider in Canada
Despite these challenges, the cider industry perseveres. They are more actively found in liquor stores and even some grocery stores. You will find them in restaurants, at local farmers markets, at beer and wine festivals, and even festivals celebrating strictly cider.
Her Father’s Cider Bar + Kitchen, located in Toronto, ON opened its doors in 2016. It is Canada’s first cider bar and it has over 75 taps dedicated to this delectable bevvy. The restaurant is dedicated to showcasing local cider producers.
All in all, the Canadian Cider(Scene) is giving beer, wine, and spirit industries a run for their money. The drink is rapidly growing in popularity. Events like the Toronto Cider Festival, BC Cider Festival, and Les Mondial des cidre are all excellent platforms that showcase and educate consumers about this drink. With such a platform for creativity, it’s not surprising that people love Canadian craft cider.