The idea of a cidery in Salmon Arm blossomed about a year ago for three women who lightheartedly refer to themselves as the Cider Sisters.
Kailee Amlin, Gena Ginn and Lindsay Wong began thinking about the business of cider on Mother’s Day, 2019. They then spent the summer gathering information, visiting different cideries, getting to know the people who make cider.
“It was actually Lindsay’s idea,” said Amlin, noting Wong had been thinking that the community, with its rich apple-growing history, could use a cidery.
“And we like to drink cider,” laughed Ginn. “We were probably drinking cider when we were thinking about it.”
In October, they made up their minds.
All three took a cider-production course at Washington State University, so are all now certified apprentices.
They are also working with a consultant well-versed in the cider industry.
When space at the Westgate Mall at the west end of town opened up, they were pleased. They say Bill Laird has been an excellent landlord.
They’re also delighted their cider will be made from Shuswap apples, most of which were grown by Allan Peterson of Peterson Orchard.
The women knew they could work together because in 2017 they founded Women Who Wine, a Shuswap networking group that contributes to local non-profit organizations’ fundraising efforts.
“Not too many people get to try out their business partners without any risk,” Ginn remarked.
They have also appreciated the help of Deborah Chapman at R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum, who filled them in on all things apple in terms of the community’s history.
The Shuswap Cider Company will consist of a manufacturing space, a small tasting room with an onsite store to buy a growler or a four-pack, and a patio space outside with more seating.
The business will stay open all year but the patio will be under tenting which will be taken down each October. In summer the plan is to have the business open seven days a week.
The women applied for their provincial licence in September and expect to receive it in March. Salmon Arm mayor and council gave their unanimous approval to the plan. The Cider Sisters hope to have a grand opening June 1, 2021 which would give them three months to produce their first batch.
Their licence will allow them to serve other producers’ beverages, so they hope to have local wine and beer on tap, for those who want something different.
“We call them pre-cider drinkers,” laughed Amlin.
Panzudo Flatbreads next door will team up with the cidery, offering local food with the beverages.
The woman all refer to collaboration with other beer, wine and cider businesses, building on the Shuswap as a destination.
While the Shuswap Cider Company will begin by offering four ciders, the women plan to branch out later using even more local ingredients.
Asked how they are feeling about the new venture, the response was enthusiasm times three.
“We’re excited, thrilled to be working with so many great people…” Ginn said.
Wong agreed. “It gives an opportunity for Salmon Arm to really have impacts in the craft industry.”
“I’m very excited and very optimistic,” Amlin added. “It’s something that Salmon Arm needs and I’m really glad we get to offer it.”