Contributed by Karin Desveaux-Potters, Gastronomy Cluster, Economic Development Office, Prince Edward County, a ‘Certified Good Food Fighter’

As a lover of Snakebites (quite possibly the world’s tastiest beverage of half cider and half beer), I was absolutely shocked to learn that it is illegal for our local cider and local beer to ride in the same delivery truck, en route to eager customers in Ontario. Talk about yet another barrier to local food distribution!

So kudos to Grant Howes, Jenifer Dean and the rest of the gang at the County Cider Company for landing one of the four distribution companies in Ontario who ARE allowed to legally distribute cider: “Premier Brands”.

With County Cider’s draft cider sales up last year by 118%, the current delivery person was maxed out at two fourteen-hour delivery days per week. Not only will the new relationship with Premier Brands allow the existing customers to be serviced, now the experienced sales reps at Premier will build new markets both with licensees and within the LCBO locations across Ontario. Also licensed to distribute nationally, Premier could very well be the conduit to the County Cider Company becoming a national brand.

Prior to establishing this new distribution link, Grant and Jenifer expanded their business capacity last year by occupying a space in Picton’s Industrial Park and installing a refurbished bottling linethat will effectively increase their bottling capability by five times. The facility is equipped to bottle not only cider, but beer and sparkling wine as well; co-packing is a distinct in the near future as an additional revenue stream for these savvy entrepreneurs and opportunity for other small-scale producers.

With more and more Ontarians discovering hard cider all the time, not to mention the “old faithful” supporters like Toronto’s Rebel House and C’est What, it stands to reason that the doc’s orders to have an apple a day just got easier!

If you would like to invest in gastronomy in Prince Edward County, please contact me at 613.476.2148 x 344 or email [email protected]