Hard cider has a rich history in southeastern Ontario, including Prince Edward County, dating back to the early European settlers who arrived in Canada in the 17 and 18th Centuries. With abundant apple orchards spread across the land, local apples were readily available and hard cider was relatively easy to produce.
In those early settlement days, cider was a popular alternative to water, as water was frequently contaminated with bacteria and parasites. Hard cider was very popular with both soldiers and farmers, who considered it a very safe, refreshing, and energizing drink.
For Many Years, Beer and Wine Were Much More Popular than Hard Cider.
More popular alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine became the go-to drink of choice for consumers and hard cider went way down on the popularity list. The temperance movement and Prohibition in the early 20th Century contributed to the decline in the hard cider market in many parts of Canada.
Hard Cider is Back, And Better Than Ever
Fast forward to today and we see that the popularity of hard cider is roaring back. The cider market is strong in the Prince Edward County region as well. Whether you are here to visit some vineyards or to enjoy the Sandbanks Provincial Park, great cider houses, including some orchard-based cider operations, await your visit. You might even find some cider slushies to cool you down after a day at the beach.
Here are several reasons for the steady climb in the popularity of hard cider over the past two decades, especially in areas such as Prince Edward County:
The Farm-To-Table Experience is alive and well in Prince Edward County
The ability to source locally grown fruits and vegetables to produce artisanal food and drink is very popular these days. Hard Cider is a perfect fit for part of a farm-to-table culinary experience.
Our Famous Terroir and Climate
Prince Edward County has a unique climate, ideal for growing specific varieties of apples needed to produce many exotic hard ciders. Located along the north shore of Lake Ontario, Prince Edward County benefits from a relatively mild climate that is moderated by Lake Ontario. In addition to its climate, Prince Edward County is also known for its limestone-rich soil, perfect for growing unique varieties of cider apples.
The County is All About Being Creative
Cider-making is a specialized craft that requires a great deal of experimentation, creativity, and determination. Each harvest is unique. What was the weather like during the growing season? What types of apples were used? What other fruits were added? What method of fermentation was used, and so on? Every cidery produces its own blend. Cider makers, much like winemakers, are both faced with different opportunities and challenges each season and the ability to be creative is essential.
Gluten-Free and Healthy
Not all, but most, ciders are gluten-free. If you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, hard cider may be a great alternative to beer since it is typically made from apples which do not contain gluten.
Here is a list of seven (7) cider producers located in Prince Edward County:
Apple Falls Cider Company
1633 County Road 3, Carrying Place, ON K0K L0
Apple Falls Cider Company was started by Matt Oskamp and Amelia Campbell in 2006. They discovered how delicious hard cider tasted during a visit to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England with Amelia’s parents and Dianne and Colin Campbell.
Dianne and Colin are second-generation owners of one of Prince Edward County’s favourite destinations for all things yummy, Campbell’s Orchards, an orchard-based business operating in Prince Edward County for years.
Apple Falls Cider Company sells their hard ciders and some cool t-shirts and other merchandise at their Online Cider Shop as well at Campbell’s Orchard. Cider tastings are available seasonally by appointment.
Clafeld Cider House
3016 County Road 8, Waupoos, ON K0K 2T0
Clafeld Cider House and apple orchard are located on the same property as Waupoos Estates Winery. Tasting visits are available throughout the year except for January. Enjoy their 100% Waupoos premium cider as well as some very popular infused ciders with dried flowers, herbs, and fruits.
Clafeld Cider House uses apple varieties that include McIntosh, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Empire, Spy, Russet, Lodi, Royal Gala, Fuji, Spartan, Mutsu, Idared, Honeycrisp and Cortland.
A visit to Clafeld Cider House and the market would not be complete without a visit to the tasting room at Waupoos Estates Winery and Restaurant. There are so many good things to eat at the restaurant and the views of the vineyards and Lake Ontario are stunning.
The County Cider Company
657 Bongards Crossroads, Waupoos, ON K0K 2T0
The County Cider Company, The County’s flagship cider operation, has specialized in artisanal hard cider production in Prince Edward County since 1995. The family farm, vineyards and orchards offer spectacular views overlooking Lake Ontario’s Prince Edward Bay and have been producing a number of apple varieties for well over 100 years.
Grant Howes, known by many as The Grandfather of Ontario Cider, took over the family farm in the early 90’s with the dream of producing a mouth-watering cider using his own Prince Edward County apples. Within two years of taking over, County Cider Company product was on the shelves at LCBOs throughout Ontario. Unfortunately, Grant passed away suddenly in 2017 but his dream of producing excellent hard ciders in Prince Edward County lives on.
Today, Jenifer Dean, Owner and General Manager of County Cider Company, and her amazing team grow 16 varieties of apples in their two orchards and cider house covering 40 acres. Each year they harvest 1,600 tonnes of apples which are used to make a whole lot of Ontario cider, 350,000 litres to be exact.
County Cider Company cider tastings can be enjoyed throughout the year. Their patio restaurant overlooking the vineyard is open seasonally from May to October and is one of the best places to enjoy a locally produced cider, wine or beer along with a delicious wood-fired pizza made right on the patio.
Cold Creek Vineyards
1521 Danforth Road, Hillier, ON K0K 2J0
It all started in 2007 with the purchase of some land, half of a barn, one small garage, and a dream to grow apples and grapes in the limestone-rich soils unique to Prince Edward County.
Cider maker Chris wanted to make small-batch hard cider in the traditional old-world way. Utilizing local apple varieties and juices from estate grapes has resulted in some very unique handcrafted seasonal offerings.
Whether you are looking for a glass of dry sparkling cider or a sweet & savoury cider with more fruity notes, a glass of Cold Creek Cider is a perfect way to cool off and relax.
Cold Creek Cider is only available at their Danforth Road location seasonally on Saturday or by chance.
Crimson Cider Company
13762 Loyalist Parkway, Picton, ON K0K 2T0
Crimson Cider Company is between Picton and Bloomfield on twenty-three acres of land owned and operated by Katie and Craig. They fell in love with the idea of moving to The County, planting some apple trees, producing hard cider, and offering a premium craft cider experience to family and friends and at their cidery.
The old stone home on the property was completely renovated and now serves as the Crimson Cider Company cider house and tasting room which is open to the public throughout the year.
Crimson Cider Company offers a wide variety of craft cider blends online as well as at their family-friendly tasting room. Sip a hot mulled cider in the winter or grab some great cider slushies that contain alcohol in the summer. A visit to Crimson Cider Company is among the best places to go after a day at the beach.
Loch Mór Cider Company
Address: 890 Danforth Rd., Hillier, ON K0K 2J0
Loch Mór Cider Company is owned and operated by Sara and Gary. They started planting apple trees in 2017 and currently have over 3,300 trees in their 10-acre apple orchard.
Loch Mór Cider produces barrel-aged fortified hard cider, rare apple hard cider and local cider. All ciders contain 100% locally grown apples either from their own orchard or orchards in the local area. Some of their rare apple ciders are produced using apples from biennial trees, which are trees that only bear fruit every two years.
Loch Mór Cider also offers ciders that are made using local Ontario apples and fruit. Perfect to sip poolside and a fun beverage to enjoy the next time you grab a bite to eat.
The tasting room opening hours are Saturdays from noon to 5 PM. Thursday, Friday, and Sunday by chance. Tasting appointments are highly recommended and can be made HERE.
Stock & Row Farm Cidery
114 Gilead Road, Bloomfield, ON K0K 1G0
Stock & Row Farm Cidery was started by two seasoned hospitality veterans who wanted to make something that they loved very much – hard cider. They planted their first trees in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
Stock and Row Farm Cidery offers three ciders, Lime Crush Cider, Low & Slow Cider, and Cold Tea Cider. These ciders are available at LCBO stores, many restaurants and Loblaws outlets. Free delivery is also available in PEC and Toronto.
There you have it. Seven great hard cider producers located in Prince Edward County. You should come for a sip or glass of cider or treat your friends to some cider slushies.
Our County Unveiled Guided Tour visits cideries, breweries, wineries and distilleries throughout Prince Edward County and we would love to tour you around during your next visit to Prince Edward County.
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Whether you are coming for a week or a weekend, we have a great selection of private vacation rental homes and cottages for rent in Picton, Bloomfield, Wellington, and throughout the rural areas of Prince Edward County.
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