by SUSAN MANN
Ontario apple growers are as juiced up as cider producers about a provincial government bill ensuring craft cider has the same tax treatment as craft beer.
The bill, called growing Ontario’s craft cider industry, is making its way through the Ontario Legislature and received second reading Thursday. It was then referred to a standing committee for review.
Ontario’s apple growers are very optimistic about the opportunities the craft cider industry has in using provincially grown apples, says Kelly Ciceran, general manager of the Ontario Apple Growers. The government’s bill will “help incubate the cider industry and help grow the Ontario industry. Ontario craft cider makers are committed to using 100 per cent Ontario-grown apples in their products.”
According to an economic impact study commissioned by the apple growers and the Ontario Craft Cider Association, cider producers are poised to use 10 per cent of all apples grown in Ontario by 2018. That same year the craft cider industry is projected to hit $35 million in sales in Ontario. The study also notes there were 19 cideries in Ontario, as of last year, with more on the way.
Thomas Wilson, craft cider association chair, says in a Nov. 6 press release the government’s craft cider bill will ensure the industry “receives the same incentives enjoyed by craft beer producers.” The bill ensures the tax or markup slapped on craft cider doesn’t exceed the tax or markup put on craft beer in Ontario.
He adds that once the bill is fully implemented it will provide a level playing field for craft cider producers comparable to Ontario’s craft brewers and with that level playing field “the potential for expansion of this homegrown industry is immense.” The bill is an excellent first step to promoting rural and agricultural economics in Ontario, generating employment and business growth throughout the countryside, he says in the release. BF