From a news release
Ontario is making it easier for craft cider and fruit wine producers to grow their businesses by supporting retail sales at farmers’ markets across the province.
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal made the announcement at the Empire Cider Company in Codrington Thursday during Ontario Agriculture Week. This initiative has allowed Empire to double its retail sales since the company began selling at Northumberland County farmers’ markets earlier this year, and the cider producer plans to continue expanding sales at additional markets in 2017.
Opening farmers’ markets to fruit wine and cider sales provides more opportunities for Ontarians to purchase and enjoy locally-crafted products and helps grow the local economy in communities across Ontario.
Ontario is expanding access responsibly and will continue to ensure that alcohol sales are conducted in a socially responsible manner. The province is also currently developing a comprehensive alcohol policy to support the safe consumption of alcohol.
- There are now approximately 60 businesses that produce cider and fruit wine in Ontario.
- To date, 250 farmers’ markets and 99 wineries, including 14 fruit wineries have participated in the Wine and Cider at Farmers’ Markets program, with sales of $3.7 million.
- Extending the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) sales in farmers’ markets to include craft cider and fruit wines follows the final recommendations made by the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets.
- VQA wine sales in Ontario have grown from $194 million in 2009-10 to $318 million in 2015-16, an increase of more than 60 per cent.
- Currently 60 grocery stores across the province are authorized to sell beer and cider. Beginning October 28, 2016, up to 70 more grocery stores will be authorized to sell wine, beer and cider.