Last June we had the opportunity to visit Thornbury Village Cidery on the FAM Tour, but so much has changed and been added to this company that we thought it deserved a follow up!
On Thursday May 11th 2016 Thornbury Village Cidery and Brewery opened their doors to the public to officially unveil their brand new Cider House complete with tasting room and retail store. Kelly and I had the pleasure of attending this lovely event to support the local brewery and to learn more about the company founded right here in Thornbury. Thornbury Village Cidery officially started producing at their building on Highway 26 in 2010 and started producing Thornbury Premium Cider in 2011, after the Beer Barons took over the business. The Thornbury Cidery and Brewery was then purchased in February of 2016 by Colio Estate Wines which is one of the largest distributors of wine to the LCBO with well known brands such as Girls Night Out and Bricklayer’s. It is thanks to Colio Estate Wines that Thornbury Village Cidery has been able to open a tasting room and retail store at their production factory in Thornbury. Due to the Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario’s regulations, a cidery or vineyard must grow at least five acres of apples or grapes on the property that the cider or wine is produced if they would like to have a retail store. Since there were no apples grown on the property that the Thornbury Village Cidery sits on, they were unable to sell their product out of the factory. However, Colio Estate Wines has a licence that they are able to extend, and so Thornbury Village Cidery will be able to sell their products at their facility.
The Atmosphere is Incredible
Now that they have this license their tasting room and retail store has been opened with a bang! The open house “launch party” was a wonderful evening. You could taste test some of the Thornbury Village Cidery and Brewery’s award winning ciders or wine from their sister company Colio Estate Wines. As a nice pairing with your drinks you could enjoy some delicious cheeses, charcuterie and treats provided by the Thornbury Cheese Gallery all while live music played in the background.. The cider house was absolutely packed with people ready to get a taste of their delicious drinks and to get a peak at all of the new renovations. Tours of the facilities were also running giving the public a sneak peek into their cider making process. During our tour we got a chance to speak with the company’s Marketing Manager Alyson who explained the vision of all of the renovations. Outside a gorgeous deck patio has been built to enjoy some of the company’s delicious drinks on in the summer.
Inside, not only is the retail space and tasting room open on the main floor, but they have also renovated a large room that can be rented out for events and functions. The room features murals by the talented Elise Goodhoofd also known as “The Chalk Artist” who is based out of Toronto (www.elisegoodhoofd.com). Different walls will tell different stories: one wall shows the beer making process, another shows the wine making story and finally one depicts the company’s full history as well as the cider making process. If this rentable space wasn’t cool enough for you yet, it also looks into the company’s micro brewery which is right beside. What a fantastic space, definitely something to keep in mind during your event planning!
Our tour guide Mark also told us that one of the company’s future plans is to move their bigger brewery to Thornbury on the second level of their building. What we love the most about Thornbury Village Cidery and Brewery is that they are so close to home. It is hard to capture the essence of a place in food or drink, but the Thornbury Village Cidery has taken on that challenge and succeeded.
Paying Tribute to the Area
Their award-winning Thornbury Premium Apple Cider is made from local apples and perfectly emulates the area in drink form. They have now taken this a step further in paying homage to the area in all of their branding as well. They recently rebranded all of their beers to be named after different local landmarks. Marketing Manager Alyson explained to us: “we have our Pickup Number 26 Pillsner which was named after highway 26 leading to our cider house, then we have Ladder Run Amber Lager which is named after the salmon ladder run which is just around the corner over the bridge, we have Dam Dark Lager named after the Beaver River, and then also our Heritage 1833 Lager which is named after the year that the town of Thornbury was founded here in the Blue Mountains.” They have mirrored this respect in their new cider can as well. If you take a look at the new premium cider cans, each of the little graphics all talk about Thornbury, the apple process, the cider making process, the farmer’s, and the history of Thornbury Cider. Be sure to look out for a little pig graphic on the cans! Alyson tells us that in their research they found a picture of a man riding to the Clarksburg fair on pig-back, and they have since dubbed him Clark the pig. She tells us that Clark has been put into various branding elements of the company so be sure to look out for that little Easter egg! And it’s not just me that appreciates everything Thornbury Village Cidery & Brewery is doing: everyone is really loving that the Cider House is paying respect to its history and of Thornbury itself.
One event attendee told our tour guide Mark “that’s what I love that you guys are doing; you’re really highlighting Thornbury. You can see it throughout the whole building, all the different themes… its turned into a landmark”. Mark and Alyson could not have agreed more. Alyson laughed a little as she told us “you’d be surprised too when you say I work for Thornbury Cider and people ask where are you based out of…well Thornbury’ … ‘we’ve been producing here since 2007 so it’s nice to open the space and have everyone come and enjoy”. The Thornbury Village Cidery Factory is located at 90 King St. E. in Thornbury on Highway 26. Thornbury Premium Apple Cider is available at over 500 LCBO locations as well as at select Colio Estate Wine locations.