A new addition made its way into the PEI beverage scene early this Summer. Business partners James Van Toever and Robert van Waarden launched ‘Red Island Cider’, a new urban cidery situated in a commercial space at 101 Longworth Avenue, near the Confederation Trail.
Red Island Cider produces a range of ciders in their Charlottetown facility, something that was inaccessible to producers prior to this venture. Legislation used to lump hard cider producers in with wineries, making it necessary to grow a portion of the raw material. This limitation turned numerous interested parties away from the potential of making apple cider here on PEI. Fortunately for us, the Red Island team worked with the PEI Liquor Commission to change policy, bringing it in line with neighbouring provinces, making the orchard element unnecessary.
Having overcome this initial licensing restriction, Red Island Cider received another set back that saw their goal of opening late 2018 dashed. The building they planned on using as production space was flagged by the Department of Transportation, which saw access to the building for commercial use as a potential risk to vehicles traveling down the main road. After a long search, Red Island found a location in Charlottetown that suited their needs.
After renovating the space and installing the necessary fermentation vessels, Van Toever and van Waarden could finally start producing cider at a commercial scale and filling kegs for awaiting bars. Launching with two core offerings, Red Island Cider taps soon started popping up at Charlottetown’s finest establishments.
One of the core offerings is ‘Father Walker’, a lovely pale, dry refreshing cider. Named after a priest in Eastern PEI whose 1900s church picnic became an event of legend when his supply of apple cider fermented. This ‘Father Walker’ has a refined dryness.
The other core cider made by Red Island Cider is a dry-hopped cider they have named ‘The Devonport’. This cider incorporates Simcoe hops that add a citrusy, resinous aroma with a hint of bitterness to balance the subtle sweetness from the cider. Named after an early Island brewery that was located on a property that is currently part of the Experimental Farm. ‘The Devonport’s use of hops adds a layer of complexity that should entice any cider or beer drinker.
Be sure to visit the Red Island Cider taproom at 101 Longworth Avenue for a glass straight from the source, and grab a growler or bottles to-go on your way out the door.