Cideries belonging to the Ontario
Craft Cider Association use 100 per
cent Ontario-grown apples
in 2021,” McIntosh said. “The OCCA has
recently been re-engaged in this work
The association is also embarking
on a public education campaign about
the tax disparities in an effort to bring
Ontario craft cider is currently
classified under the Ontario Wine Content
and Labelling Act, but the OCCA would
like to see a separate Cider Act created
that would help level the field for the craft
It’s a proposal the OCCA has discussed
with the Ontario government on numerous
occasions, but to no avail so far, which is
why the association is taking action to try
to enlist public support.
“We’re about to, as an association, start
reaching out to consumers to educate
them on the tax disparities because I think
we have such a strong following from
them that they might lend their voice to
having a sustainable craft cider industry in
Ontario,” said McIntosh.
Ontario Great Place to Make Apple Cider
James McIntosh believes you’d be
hard-pressed to find a better place than
Ontario to make apple cider.
The province’s major apple-producing
areas are spread along the shores of
Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and
Georgian Bay. These large, deep bod-ies
of water help moderate the climate,
which is ideal for producing apples with
intense flavour and a crisp acidity that
make for delicious apple cider.
“We’re blessed with a unique geography
to make great apples and we’re mak-ing
great cider now,” said McIntosh,
chair of the Ontario Craft Cider
Association (OCCA) and owner of The
Duxbury Cidery Co. in Meaford, Ont.
“Apple cider has been a part of Ontario
ever since the land here was settled.”
He says there was small-scale cider pro-duction
in the province, particularly in the
Kitchener-Waterloo area, until the1920s,
when it came to a screeching halt.
“Prohibition ended up killing the industry,”
said McIntosh. “When the market for
cider dried up, the apple growers just
got into growing different varieties that
weren’t the traditional apples for cider.
And that lasted pretty much up until the
Today, Ontario’s craft cider industry is
growing quickly, propelled by consumer
interest in buying local and the quality
of the product that’s available to them.
Cideries belonging to the OCCA, which
must use 100 per cent Ontario-grown
apples to qualify for membership, have
benefitted from this trend.
“I think that’s really propelled the Ontario
craft ciders to where they are,” said Terry
Sauriol, vice chair of the OCCA. “We
now have a 22 per cent share of total
cider sales in the province, which puts
us much higher in terms of the share of
sales relative to VQA wine or Ontario
F E AT U R E
Photos courtesy of James McIntosh
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