Move over beer, there’s a new player in town. The craft beer industry has exploded over the last few years and that’s made consumers a bit more adventurous, welcoming craft ciders into the mix.
At government-run BC Liquor Stores, cider sales have increased more than 31 per cent over the last five years, with much of it locally produced.
“I think cider is starting to gain momentum,” said Tim Bradley with the BC Liquor Distribution Board. "We have Hopping Mad from Surrey. Lonetree from Vancouver and we have the B.C. Tree Fruits from Kelowna."
And that popularity is bringing some new competition onto the scene, including Windfall Cider. After six years of experimenting at home, Nathaly Nairm and her husband Jeff decided to turn their passion for cider into a business, creating their Jackpot cider from 100 per cent pressed apple juice.
"We've come out with a cider that is dry. That tastes like a white wine. It's peppery. It's lemony," said Jeff.
"It’s got a lot of body a lot of acidity," explained Nathaly.
Windfall Cider is one of almost three dozen producers in the province. And as the number of cider makers grow, so does the selection of different tastes. From dry to sweet, pear to strawberry, ciders tend to range in alcohol content between four and eight per cent.
"Cider is really catching up," said Ogi Radoicic, manager of Bells and Whistles, a Vancouver restaurant that serves local ciders on tap. ”It kind of echoes the same trends that we see when it comes to craft beer in cider as well.”
“Supporting small businesses and local industry and having a tasty drink. It's tough to beat," said Bells and Whistles customer Mark Galvani.
And while cider is catching on, B.C.'s liquor tax laws haven't caught up with the changing industry. Cider is taxed at a much higher rate than beer because it's lumped in with things like vodka coolers. The cider industry says it's time to throw out the old laws so they can offer their product to consumers at a better price.