Posted March 7, 2017

Ontario announces Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program

(Ontario Ministry of Finance)

Toronto – The Ontario Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs today announced details for the new Ontario Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program. The program will provide eligible businesses with support to grow and scale up their operations, including hiring more staff and purchasing new equipment.

This program builds on previously announced initiatives to support small cider and spirits producers, such as permitting spirits manufacturers to have a bar or restaurant at each of their licensed manufacturing sites and launching the sale of cider in grocery stores. Additionally, small spirits producers will soon be able to deliver directly to bars and restaurants, creating more exposure for their products.

Quick Facts

  • The province will invest $4.9 million over three years for the Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program.
  • Eligible cideries will receive up to 74 cents per litre and eligible distillers will receive up to $4.42 per litre on eligible sales — to a maximum of $220,000 per year per producer.
  • In 2015-16, LCBO sales of craft ciders grew 54 per cent over the previous year, with sales totaling $5.1 million.
  • There are over a dozen small distilleries in Ontario communities including Guelph, Barrie, Codrington, and Picton.
  • In 2015-16, total sales at small Ontario distillers’ on-site stores and in the LCBO were $5.5 million — 62 per cent higher than the previous year and significantly outpacing the overall spirits category.
  • 100 per cent Ontario fruit cider and fruit wine is now available for sale at farmers’ markets across the province.
  • Currently, up to 130 grocery stores across Ontario can sell beer and cider, including up to 70 that can also sell wine. Ultimately, beer and cider will be available in up to 450 grocery stores, including up to 300 that also sell wine

Response from Ontario Craft Cider Association
“This is tremendous news, not just for the 27 Ontario craft cider makers who are members of the OCCA; but all 43 cider producing operations in Ontario and the 230 Ontario Apple Growers who supply the fruit used to make Ontario’s new favourite drink,” said Thomas Wilson, Chair Ontario Craft Cider Association. “It is a great day when Ontario craft cider makers join the ranks of beer and wine producers as a provincially recognized industry. With this much needed program our members will be able to invest in equipment, employees, and supplies to continue developing our industry potential here in Ontario.”

Response from Ontario Craft Distillers Association
The Ontario Craft Distillers Association would like to thank the Government of Ontario for the introduction of the rebate program for small distillers. This change is a positive step forward in improving opportunities for local craft distillers. Our association looks forward to working closely with the government to help them implement further improvements that will bring greater selection and choice of spirits to consumers.

Response from Spirits Canada
Jan Westcott President and CEO of Spirits Canada, a national trade organization representing interests of Canadian Spirits manufacturers responded, “Today’s announcement is a tacit admission that taxes, levies and mark-ups on Spirits in Ontario are excessive and constitute a significant barrier to entry. Ontario’s tax load on distillers is twice that imposed on beer and four times greater than that imposed on wine”.


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