British Columbia, Canada is no stranger to the crafting of cider. Despite the cold temperatures, the region offers the ideal conditions to successfully grow apples. With some old and fruitful orchards, plenty of sunlight, and sufficient coolness, British Columbia’s apples could not have had a more perfect environment. So, what do these mean for their ciders? In case you don’t know, British Columbia apples are considered some of the very best in Canada. That is, BC is essentially an apple hub. And, even more so, an apple hub for the production of quality ciders.
Why is BC perfect for apple orchards?
Do you know that 98% of BC’s apple production comes from Fraser Valley and Kootenay? Surprisingly (Not surprisingly), these areas are known for producing the very best quality apples, due to their weather conditions. There, the fruits are exposed to loads of heat and sunshine that allow the fruit to ripen successfully. Second, the lack of rain in the region also makes the fruits less susceptible to diseases. More importantly, the heat and sunshine help retain the sugar content in the apples. Not only do those apples have many sunny days, but they also have the cool evenings that ensure balance in the fruits. Hmmm…Can you taste the crispiness?
What apples are grown in BC?
With such ideal growing conditions, there is no surprise that BC produces between 90 000 to 100 000 tons of apples each year. Golden Delicious, Johngold Macoun, Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Ontario, Ida Red, Spy, Paula Red and Russet, all these apples have been used in producing the most delicious BC ciders.
On some occasions, dessert apples are also grown. These are predominantly used for commercial ciders, as they require some modification and flavor-enhancement during the cider production. Granny Smith and Macintosh apples are such examples.
What many don’t realize is that many of the orchards in BC are considered old-growth orchards. Much like how older vines produce better quality wine, the same can be said with apple orchards. So, these BC apples are not only great varieties to use for ciders, but the quality of the trees themselves ensures the highest quality end-result.
What ciders is BC producing?
Canada has an ancient history with cider – evidence of the beverage dating back to the early Captain Cook era. The real commercial cider production only took off in the 1920s and has absolutely exploded in the past century. Today, BC apples are used for hand-crafted, hard ciders, like our Jackpot Ciders – dry but also well-balanced with a hint of sweetness.
Usually, you’ll find that most of the ciders from the region are purely apple ciders. However, many BC cideries nowadays are exploring with infused-ciders, as well as ciders made from other stone-fruits.
Style-wise, ciders can be made in both dry, semi-sweet and sweet styles – catering for every type of palate. If you’re brave enough, there are also tequila-infused ciders available that pack quite the punch.
So, cider lovers – whether you’re in BC for just apple picking or visiting the region to try the unique sets of ciders, exciting BC cider adventures await! (Don’t forget about BC’s apple ciders too, they are great.)