The last several years have seen a boost in the popularity and availability of Ontario craft ciders. Craft cider currently represents around 12 per cent of cider sales in Ontario, with room to grow.
The Ontario Craft Cider Association (OCCA) received funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to launch a multi-faceted marketing campaign to help Ontario consumers have a better understanding of local craft cider and its unique qualities.
“A lot of people don’t know what craft cider means, so our biggest objective is to let them realize what makes Ontario craft cider so unique,” said OCCA chair Richard Liu. “We use 100 per cent Ontario apples and all of our ingredients and inputs are from the province. We’re proud of that and the role we play in agriculture in Ontario – and that’s what we want to highlight to get more people interested in Ontario craft cider.”
As part of the project, OCCA is increasing its digital presence through social media and a new website. The organization is deeming June as Ontario Craft Cider month to highlight the quality and diversity of Ontario ciders. Promotional activities will be undertaken with the LCBO, bars, and restaurants to help raise awareness of local craft ciders.
The goal, according to Liu, is to raise craft cider’s market share by making consumers more aware that craft cider is a premium quality product produced by local cideries using local ingredients.
“We have deep integration with Ontario’s orchards. Most of our members are small to medium sized family businesses, just like the apple growers are, and a significant number of our members are rural-based.”