Cider

Cider companies in Nova Scotia are popping up everywhere

Local cider sales have reached $1.6 million so far this year

A sign on the building alludes to its future residents, Chain Yard Cider company.
A sign on this Agricola and North Street building alludes to its future residents, the Chain-Yard Cider company.   Erin McIntosh

Cider is becoming more popular in Nova Scotia and the province is now home to 11 cider companies, with more on the way.

One of these upcoming companies is Chain-Yard Cider, which will fill the empty space at Agricola and North streets that was previously home to the FRED. salon and café. The cidery is expected to open at the end of February.

“We’ve seen the growing demand for cider in Nova Scotia and we’ve also seen the trend in cider increasing in other places around North America,” said Susan Downey Lim, co-owner at Chain-Yard Cider and tour director for Grape Escapes NS wine tours and Taste Halifax food tours.

In an emailed statement from Heather Casavechia, digital communication specialist for the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC), cider sales in 2016 so far have reached $6.5 million — $1.6 million of that was from local brands, which is up from $0.7 million in 2014.

Downey Lim says cider “is good (for) bridging the gap,” as it’s local, but not craft beer since not everyone likes beer.

“People can still be proud that they’re drinking local,” she said.

Most of the other cider companies in the province are scattered around the Annapolis Valley, Truro and New Ross. Downey Lim and her partner wanted to avoid opening another cidery in the valley, so they decided to bring something new to their neighbourhood.

“If we can live, work and play in the north end of Halifax for the rest of our lives we would be happy,” said Downey Lim.

L’Acadie Vineyards sold cider in 2007 for three years, but stopped when they couldn’t juggle both cider and wine production. Seven years later, they started making cider again. L’Acadie’s certified organic cider will be available next year.

“We’ve had a lot of people ask us to bring it back,” said Bruce Ewert, wine maker and owner at L’Acadie Vineyards.

Casavechia says the NSLC sells 36 ciders, 50 per cent of which are local. These local brands have accounted for 33 per cent of total cider sales.

Bulwark Cider is the number one selling cider brand in all of Nova Scotia.
Bulwark Cider is the No. 1 selling cider brand at the NSLC in all of Nova Scotia.   Erin McIntosh

Alexander Henden has decided to showcase them all in Nova Scotia’s first cider festival. The East Coast Cider Festival, hosted by his company, Local Connections Halifax, will take place in May and will host more than 10 cider makers from Atlantic Canada.

“We really wanted to create a festive event to showcase cider because it’s never really been done before,” said Henden. “So if we’re going to be the first ones to do it we might as well set the pace at a very high quality event.”

Henden said he’s hoping for a full house or about 1,000 attendees looking for something a bit unique.

“Cider drinkers want something different than beer,” Henden said. “It’s refreshing, fairly light. It’s in between wine and beer, which is sort of an interesting space.”