The Shuswap Cider Company is ready to usher in a golden age of cider in the region.
Salmon Arm’s first cidery opened its doors on June 30 at the Westgate Public Market. It offers a variety of ciders made from locally sourced ingredients, on tap as well as in growlers. Canned cider should also be available as of July 12.
In addition to taking a cider-production course, business partners Gena Ginn, Kailee Amlin and Lindsay Wong (aka the Cider Sisters), have been working with a consultant, and have consulted with other business owners in the community, to get to where they are now, with a line of ciders they’re proud of. They include semi-sweet and dry apple ciders, a lavender honey cider and a cherry rosé. They are also working on a rhubarb cider and a haskap berry cider, with the berries provided by the Shuswap’s U Grow Girl farm.
“We are thrilled with the work that we have done… we couldn’t be happier,” said Ginn.
Apples for the ciders are sourced from Salmon Arm’s Peterson family orchards.
Ginn explained how the journey to opening day involved a lot of learning, collaboration and some adaptation. Just making the ciders, she said, takes a lot of science and numerous steps during fermentation.
“There’s a lot of chemistry involved – Kailee has been taking on that role,” said Ginn. “Last night we were blending the lavender honey, we were getting the honey out of the buckets and melting it down to blend it in the tank so we could have that all ready for canning this week. It’s very labour intensive, very physical work – it’s not just fun and tasting cider.”
For a full family-friendly dining experience, Shuswap Cider Company has partnered with food truck operator and Westgate Food Hub owner David Allard. The two operate an enclosed dining area outside the cidery where people can enjoy a beverage, a wood-fired pizza and other food items.
“People love having food, they love being able to make it a destination to bring the family out to,” said Wong. “It’s not just hanging out for 10 minutes and leaving. You get a whole experience. That’s what we’ve built here.”
The cidery also has a tasting room where people can try the ciders on tap while taking in decorations that include several black and white images from the Salmon Arm museum, all from a time when the city was known world-over for its apples.
“It really was a golden age of the apple in the Shuswap in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s… This was a great climate for apple growing, it didn’t require irrigation, our apples were really known around the world…,” said Ginn. “I feel this is kind of the new golden age of cider here. We’re taking the apple and doing something new with it. This is the first cidery in the Shuswap, there’s a second one coming, and I really think our area is ready for enjoying cider.”
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