Newfoundland Cider Company Will Put Neglected Local Apple Trees to Work

“Although we have a challenging climate, certain varieties of apples can grow here and do quite well.”

There’s a tap dedicated to cider at most pubs in Newfoundland, but the beverage doesn’t have the same popularity that it has in areas like the United Kingdom, where it’s widely available in multiple varieties and styles, from dry to sweet.

Chris Adams and Marc Poirier are hoping to raise the stature of cider with their venture, the Newfoundland Cider Company. The co-owners of the artisan cider company are dedicated to making cider in the traditional way, inspired by Adams’ time in Ireland.

“On moving back to Newfoundland seven years ago, he was disappointed to see what was being passed off as cider…” says Poirier. Though he gives the nod to ciders from YellowBelly, and No Boats on Sunday (usually available at the NLC and several local restaurants), he felt that NL was lacking in decent ciders.

“At the same time, Chris noticed all the wild and neglected apple trees in his hometown, so he decided to start making cider…” says Poirier. “Both of us have been making cider as a hobby for years, so we decided to explore the possibility of turning this hobby into an exciting business venture.”

Adams is a horticulturist by trade, and acts as cider maker, while Poirier has a forestry background and is an arborist by trade, so he’s been spending most of his time in the orchard, caring for the trees.

“Most of the apples that we use are wild apple varieties foraged from the sea front and forest,” says Poirier. “We also aim to develop Newfoundland’s very first commercial apple orchard. Our goal is to create a cider that is 100% local made entirely from local ingredients.”

“It’s our aim to have three different ciders available this fall: year barrel aged, botanical, and regular semi-sweet,” says Poirier, who is crafting the ciders to taste more like traditional European ciders. “Our ciders will range from sweet to dry, still to sparkling, and we will use botanical flavours from locally foraged ingredients.”

According to Poirier, the consumption of cider in Newfoundland has increased almost fourfold since 2010. He goes on to say that much of it is coming from breweries that rely on imported ingredients, then injected with artificial flavours.

“Small micro-breweries are appearing throughout the province in response to the increasing trend towards locally produced food and drink,” says Poirier. “Although we have a challenging climate, certain varieties of apples can grow here and do quite well.”

As a small batch cider company, their first goal is to produce a few thousand liters of cider in 2017, have their cidery open to the public this fall, then expand. The Cidery is based out of Milton, at the gateway to the Bonavista peninsula. Along with selling cider from the cidery, they plan to sell semi-sweet regular cider in NLC stores.

Follow the Newfoundland Cider Company’s first year on Instagram @newfoundlandcidercompany.

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14 Comments

  • Wow and Yum. That’s all I got. Beautiful product, folks. Thank you so much. It’s for times when you don’t really want to drink but think you should anyways. This makes that so much easier.

  • yes please cider here… when is it available?? I’m a strongbow dry cider drinker the bitter the better. I also have an apple tree in my garden and this year has been the best apples look and size much like macintosh…dont think its a wild apple tree cuz there are at least 3 trees near the water that are black barked and knarly looking.
    so when and where are we gettin our cider??

  • Very interested in your success. I have been a cider drinker and advocate for over 40 years. Growing up in the Annapolis Valley we were exposed to local cider products at a young age and I have never lost my taste for it. I have been introducing it (mainly through Strongbow – my favourite) for decades. The recent rise in popularity is interesting but I see the market flooded with take-offs from beer and rum producers. I guess they appeal to some. I found almost all brands too sweet for my tastes. I have made my own from apple juice with some success. My son has been encouraging me for several years to do exactly what you are doing but I told him it would be expensive to import apples and then trying to be competitive with areas that grow their own. I never considered wild apples (or crabapples as they seem to be called here).
    Good luck. I would be very interested in keeping updated in your progress. Good luck to you and if you ever need a taster…

  • Marc, are you aware of the apple trees in the old Gander townsite near the airport? They were planted during the 1940’s and abandoned when the houses were moved away from the airport.

  • With the growing increase of gluten introlent and celiac, cider is such a great replacement for beer lovers around. I hope that you will ensure that all your ciders are gluten free. And I can wait to try them! We will make a trip out once you’re brewery is open my husband loves cider!

  • A question for Marc: how much work are you doing reclaiming wild/overgrown Apple trees? Are you interested in expanding that to people’s private trees? I have 7 in my orchard most probably 50 years old and they all need work.

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