And like that, Cider Week is over. First off, thanks to everybody who took some time to read my posts. I know this is a beer blog, so I was stoked to see so many people willing to read about something different. It appears a lot of people in Toronto are interested in Cider! I also wanted to take some time and put some thoughts and reflections down that I had through the course of the week. If you’re just tuning-in you can get caught-up on Cider Week here: http://www.torontobeerblog.com/tag/cider-week/
The Bottom Line
In measurable terms, this has been the most successful week ever for my blog. The top three most single day hits in over two years were in this past week. I know part of this is consistency. Posting every day certainly keeps you folks coming back. I think as well, though, that a lot of craft beer enthusiasts are curious about cider. To a lot of you, cider is sort of somewhere between a beer and a cooler. Not really something to give much consideration to. They all taste like apples, right? But I hope this week has opened a lot of people’s minds. Try some of these drinks out. I won’t promise you will love them, but you might be surprised. And yes, I’m already planning on doing Cider Week next year. First week of May, be here, okay?
Because I know people will ask
I don’t play favourites. All the ciders I reviewed this week had different good things going for them. Some have great market appeal, some are pushing consumer’s boundaries, none were bad and all were quite refreshing. That being said, it would be impossible not to give another shout-out to Spirit Tree Estate Cidery. Everything about what they do (and I’m thinking beyond just cider, check their website to see what I mean) impresses me. I’m going to go into a bit more detail about the struggles, but in the face of a difficult uphill battle, they are shining. And even excelling. Check these dudes out.
And not just because I got to drink some amazing ciders this week. Though that helped. But for what we’ve got going in Ontario with craft beer. I’ve alluded to parts of this in posts this week but here goes: Craft beer drinkers moan and grumble about the lack of selection of amazing craft beers in the LCBO compared to other provinces and the USA. There is no doubt, it is easier to get excellent beer in Quebec at a dep. But shift your focus to cider for a minute, next time you’re lamenting the craft beer selection in your local LCBO. There are some amazing craft cideries, and you won’t find most of them in the LCBO. There are a variety of reasons for this, but take a moment and be thankful: we can find at least one great local craft beer in nearly any LCBO.
Rage Against the Machine
It would be irresponsible to not follow-up the above paragraph with a call to action. For the sake of great small cider producers, we need change. And I’m not even talking about non-LCBO sales. Cideries get taxed like a winery. Not a brewery. They are taxed as if they are producing a 10+% product. But most of them aren’t. Over half what most of them charge for their products goes directly to the government. This is insane. It is, in part, because when the laws were made, commercial cider production was a non-issue, compared to beer, wine and spirits. But that is hardly an excuse. When you think about some of the more archaic liquor laws in our lovely little chunk of Canada, don’t forget our hard-working cider-makers. They deserve a better kick at the can.
This has been a heap of fun. I can’t promise that I will post seven articles this coming week, but the positive feedback and stats from the week served as a good reminder to not neglect posting here as much as I can. I’ll be doing a few reviews for this week later tonight, and am hoping to keep the volume up.
If you’ve made it all the way down here, I’m sure I’m probably preaching to the choir, but drink cider. Such a lovely drink, totally different from beer or wine, but still with such a range of styles and profiles. Ontario has some amazing apple producing regions; if we can encourage more cideries to start-up, all the better.
And again, thank you for reading. I don’t take much time to say it, but I know I should more often. I certainly wouldn’t be writing if people weren’t reading, and I love writing here, so I owe thanks to you all.