Food for Thought: Ontario’s Craft Cider Industry Gets Hard-core Investment

Freshly announced government investment is sowing the seeds for a growth spurt in Ontario’s craft cider industry.

Photo by @agapod

2016’s Craft Cider Week launched with the announcement that the governments of Ontario and Canada are investing nearly $400,000 to support Ontario cideries through Growing Forward 2, “a federal-provincial-territorial funding program that encourages innovation, competitiveness, market development, adaptability and industry sustainability in Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sector”. The Ontario Craft Cider Association (OCCA) alone will receive up to $220,000 of the funding in order to increase Ontario cider’s competitiveness through research, quality assessments, and the development of local industry benchmarks. It’s super sweet to see the government’s commitment to the growth and sustainment of Ontario’s craft cider industry and its people. This investment reinforces the government’s prioritization of economic growth and job creation, all within local businesses. The funding announcement comes hot on the heels of the announcement that Ontario craft cider will be included in the Ontario government’s Beer in Grocery Initiative and the Farmers’ Market Initiative. We couldn’t love this any more if we tried.

Photo by @agapod

According to OMAFRA, Ontario craft cider is one of the fastest-growing sales categories at the LCBO, with sales increasing 89% per year from 2011 to 2015. OCCA and Ontario Apple Growers’ 2013 Economic Impact Study projected that Ontario sales will to top $35 million by 2018, injecting $2 million in tax dollars to all levels of government, and pumping out $12 million in payroll and benefits for the cider industry and its suppliers. That’s a lotta juice! Ontario’s Craft Cider Week runs from May 27 to June 4, so get out there, tap some locally produced deliciousness, discover some new faves, and toast the ongoing success of Ontario’s craft cideries!
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