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Growing Small Cider and Spirits Producers' Businesses

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Growing Small Cider and Spirits Producers' Businesses

New Program Supports Ontario’s Rapidly Growing Small Distillery and Small Cider Sectors

Ministry of Finance

Ontario is making it easier for small cideries and small distilleries to grow their businesses, helping create jobs and boost economic growth across the province.

Today Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance and Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, announced the details of the 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.

Helping cider and spirits producers grow their businesses is part of Ontario's plan to create jobs, grow the economy and help people in their everyday lives.

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.

Additional Resources


“Ontario’s cider and spirits industry is growing at an exciting pace. The Ontario Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program will provide small businesses with additional tools to help them succeed. This program is good for business, good for customers and it’s good for Ontario.”

Charles Sousa

Minister of Finance

“Our government is committed to helping small businesses thrive. This new program will further grow Ontario’s food and beverage industry by supporting small cideries and small distilleries to scale up, creating jobs in local communities and laying the groundwork for future success.”

Jeff Leal

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Minister Responsible for Small Business

“With the announcement of the Ontario Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program, the government has launched a new age in craft beverages here in Ontario using locally grown Ontario apples. After extensive consultation with the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets, the Ontario Craft Cider Association is looking forward to this new stage in the development of our beverage industry.”

Thomas Wilson

Chair, Ontario Craft Cider Association

“The announcement today is a good step forward to improve the competitive landscape for Ontario Craft Distillers and we thank them for this program. We are excited to continue working with the Ontario government collectively to make further changes to bring greater choice to Ontario spirits consumers while continuing to drive the growth of our Ontario small businesses.”

Mike Heisz

President of the Ontario Craft Distillers

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