The newest opportunity for farmer (growers) in Ontario is the rise of the popularity of Cider. Ontario craft cider sales were up more than 50 per cent in 2016 from the year earlier, reaching $5.1 million in sales through the LCBO. The Ontario Craft Cider Association forecasts that 10 per cent of the apples grown in the province will be used for cider by 2018.
West Avenue Cider, has been in business for five years, and picking up a number of awards in both Ontario and international cider competitions. Owners Robson and Chris Haworth planted 100 types of heritage apple trees on their orchard in Freelton, Ont. Their orchard has 10,000 trees.
“The modern cider industry in Ontario is due largely in part to Chris,” Rick VanSickle, wine writer and publisher of WinesinNiagara.com, says. “He’s the most imaginative and adventurous cider maker in Ontario – he’s set the benchmark for modern cider makers to follow.”
Lindsay Puddicombe , wine- and cider-maker, Puddicombe Estates saw the opportunity and added Cider to the well established family winery. Murray Puddicombe has been growing Vinifera grapes since 1962. Puddicombe Estate Winery started making wine in 1998, with Lindsay Puddicombe as the winemaker. In 2000 we opened a retail store on site. When we opened we had 6 white wines and 4 red wines. Now we are the home to over 30 different wine varieties in our retail store. They recently added Sir Isaac's Ciders.
Established in 2014 in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, KW Craft Cider is a refined, sparkling dry cider, prepared exclusively from fresh-pressed apples cultivated within 150km of our cidery, from the neighbouring shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay
"I think it's easy to get excited about something that's made so close to home. We grow some of the best apples in the world, here in Ontario," said Mike Kramar, who owns KW Craft Cider in Waterloo region.
He said since opening in 2014, the business has seen a steady increase in sales – even through the cold winter months.
One of the pioneers of Ontario’s craft cider industry is The County Cider Company. They have been specializing in authentic hard ciders since 1995. he family farm over-looking the shores of Prince Edward Bay, in the heart of Prince Edward County, has been producing apples since 1850. It was bought by William and Berva Howes back in 1970. Their son Grant, took over the orchards in the early 90’s with the dream of making cider. One year later Grant had produced a cider good enough to impress the LCBO. Two years later Grant’s Cider was on store shelves across Ontario. The man who in time would become known as The Grandfather of Ontario Cider was on his way. Sad he passed away suddenly in 2017.
To honour Grant's legacy and love for his craft, the Grant Howes Memorial Scholarship Fund was created with Niagara College, granting funds to students pursuing excellence in the Winery and Viticulture Technician, Brewmaster, and Brewery Operations Management Programs.
Please see Cider
Ontario Cider Houses
In Ontario, cider doesn’t have its own category under Alcohol and Gaming Commission regulations, but instead is tossed in with wines.