CBC News ·
When Jenifer Dean got into the craft cider business almost 20 years ago, she had little idea the industry would experience the popularity it’s seeing today.
Dean’s late husband, Grant Howes, and his family launched The County Cider Company in Prince Edward County in the late 1990s.
“At one time, we were the only cider company in Ontario and now there are so many. It’s raising the profile of the industry across the province,” Dean said.
Thanks to unprecedented growth, especially over the past decade, the Ontario Craft Cider Association (OCCA) has named June its first ever Cider Month.
According to the OCCA, between 2012 and 2017, sales of Ontario craft ciders soared from 1 million to 11 million dollars. During the same period, the number of craft cideries selling product through the LCBO increased from just under five to over 30.
April 10, 2018 12:00 P.M.
Starting today, 87 more grocery stores across Ontario can sell beer and cider, increasing convenience and choice for consumers.
Across the province, there are now over 350 grocery stores authorized to sell beer and cider, of which up to 70 can also sell wine.
Every additional location for sales creates new opportunities for small beer and cider producers, whose products must represent at least 20 per cent of the beer and 20 per cent of the cider on display in grocery stores.
Ontario craft cideries increasing production, responding to consumer demand
Latest stats show craft cider as leading beverage growth sector
September 5, 2017
Toronto – A recent study completed by the Ontario Craft Cider Association (OCCA) has revealed encouraging stats for Ontario’s craft cider makers and the provincial economy. This Ontario beverage sector is experiencing remarkable year over year growth largely from entrepreneurs and new investment, with currently 56 active cideries and another 26 already in development. In addition to the standard LCBO outlets across the province, 206 grocery stores have now also been authorized to sell cider, significantly improving market access for cider makers.
The phenomenon of increasing cider consumption is not unique to Ontario with significant growth in production across North America and Europe to meet demand. This global increase in production has been both a challenge and an opportunity for Ontario cider producers who are competing with imported product at 73 per cent of market share and multi-national consolidation that threatens local craft production.
“We have incredible potential in the Ontario craft cider sector to capture imported market share with local and innovative cider products,” said Thomas Wilson, Chair, OCCA and owner of Spirit Tree Estate Cidery. “Between 2015 and 2016 alone, our own cider production increased by 150 per cent to meet domestic demand. And if our economic analyses are any indicator, overall provincial production will be up three times current levels by 2020. The growth in this sector has been incredible.”
Latest statistics from 2015 indicate that Ontario’s cohort of craft cideries produced 2.1 million litres of cider and generated $12.3 million in sales. By 2020, these numbers are expected to reach 6.9 million litres and $38.8 million in sales. The impact to the provincial economy is equally positive with job creation numbers. The industry is expecting to reach over 400 jobs by 2020, and a contributing over $29.3 million to the GDP.
Given that 98 per cent of Ontario craft cider production is sold within the province, there is also significant opportunity to brand this product as “local Ontario” for export markets around the globe. Other jurisdictions including Oregon and Japan have already embraced marketing strategies that capitalize on a strong reputation for unique production practices and high quality products.
“This is an important time for cideries when we purchase local apples and pears directly from Ontario farmers. Given the outstanding quality of Ontario fruit, these relationships are essential to our success and together we are producing an exceptional product that is unique to Ontario’s provenance. There is so much opportunity to appreciably increase craft cider production in Ontario with the right marketing and business development support,” said Thomas Wilson.
“The craft cider industry here in Ontario is only just getting started,” said Thomas Wilson. “Ontario is the largest apple growing province in Canada. In partnership with the Ontario Apple Growers and with support from the Province of Ontario, our craft cider industry has the potential to produce as much cider as the entire UK sector, totalling $12 billion Canadian.”
The Government of Canada recognizes our food and beverage processing industry as one of the key players in Canadian agriculture, especially as we move towards our ambitious target of exporting $75B in agri-good products by 2025. The results of this study will help us understand the important role the cider industry plays in our economy and ensure its success in the future.”
– Lawrence MacAulay, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“As an important contributor to good jobs in communities across the province, our government is committed to growing Ontario’s booming craft cider industry. That’s why we launched the Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program to help craft cider producers scale up, hire more staff, and deliver more great Ontario-made products to consumers here in our province.”
– Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
(Toronto, ON – March 7, 2017). The Ontario Craft Cider Association (OCCA) welcomed the announcement of the Ontario Small Cidery Support Program today, made by Ontario Finance Minister the Hon. Charles Sousa and Ontario Agriculture Minister the Hon. Jeff Leal. The program will help independent, small Ontario cider producers increase capacity and hire more staff which in turn will introduce more consumers to Ontario craft cider.
Eligible cideries will receive up to 74 cents per litre on eligible sales – to a maximum of $220,000 per year per producer. In 2015-2016, LCBO sales of craft ciders grew 54 percent, over the previous year. “This is tremendous news, not just for the 27 Ontario craft cider makers who are members of the OCCA; but all 43 cider producing operations in Ontario and the 230 Ontario Apple Growers who supply the fruit used to make Ontario’s new favourite drink”, said Thomas Wilson, Chair OCCA. Members of the Ontario Craft Cider Association are required to use only 100% Ontario apples for their cider so the program will ultimately result in more apple trees in the ground and increased rural economic activity from farm to glass.
“It is a great day when Ontario craft cider makers join the ranks of beer and wine producers as a provincially recognized industry. With this much needed program our members will be able to invest in equipment, employees, and supplies to continue developing our industry potential here in Ontario,” said Wilson. “As Chair of the Ontario Craft Cider Association I would like to thank Premier Wynne, the Hon. Charles Sousa and the Hon. Jeff Leal for the new Ontario Small Cidery Support Program. This is a great step to growing our world class cider industry in Ontario and we look forward to continued co-operation and partnership in the years to come”.
Ontario Craft Cider Association – Key Stats
- 27 Members
- Ontario craft cider producers produced approximately 2.1 million litres (21,000 hectolitres) of craft cider in 2015.
- Approximately 107 full-time employees in 2015
- Total sales generated by craft cider producers in Ontario were approximately $12.3 million in 2015.