As the craft beverage craze rages on, there are more local ciders available than ever on store shelves. One of the newest is Wild, from the Annapolis Valley—with an earth-friendly ethos and a strong sense of place, the recntly rebranded cidery is finding a way to stand out

Founder Bryan Lee created the unique cider line with much trial and error.

“When Bryan founded the company, he had this concept of coming up with ciders that reflect the Annapolis Valley as it truly is,” says Tom Smith, Wild’s brand director. “Apples are freshly picked from the orchard and taken on a truck back to the cidery, all pressed onsite, all done onsite … It’s not just what kind of orchards we want to raise here but where are we picking our apples from and which kinds of apples are we picking here to once we get them back, how are we pressing them, and what blend of different types of apples are we using.”

The operation farms organically, producing three flagship ciders. Named after the community of Windermere, near Berwick, Wind is light, crisp, and dry. Boar references Boar’s Back, the cidery’s location on the Annapolis Valley’s South Mountain. It’s a stronger cider, with big flavours. And Full Boar, as the name suggests, is boozier still, partially aged in old bourbon barrels to give it rich oaky notes.

Photo: Submitted

“The orchards themselves are intentionally biodiverse,” Smith says. “When you walk out on the field, it’s not a field of orchards; there’s crabgrass everywhere, all kinds of indigenous ground-covered species around the trees. These trees are very old, so there are many types of orchards, but some of them are orchards where you would change what trees are in the orchard every two or three years, and they grow them kind of more like vines. There are tons and tons of apples on these tiny little trees. These are big, old rugged, rustic-looking trees, so they are like older heirloom apple trees … We’re just trying to figure out a way to make these products as respectful to the world that lets us make them possible.”

Originally known as Boar’s Back Cider, the cidery has recently rebranded in an attempt to better reflect what they were trying to accomplish with their products.

“It made sense because we wanted to have a sense of what the cider is all about,” Smith says. “We wanted something that could be more iconic, communicate more and probably even more important, like allow us to have a product line. We wanted something visible, iconic and versatile. We just wanted to find something that encapsulated that.”

The goal is to reflect the beauty of the Annapolis Valley and stake the region’s claim as the source of the world’s best apple ciders.

“There’s a lot of great ciders coming out from a lot of great places in Canada,” Smith say. “Nova Scotia has this unbelievable thing to offer in the Annapolis Valley that’s a rich and deep tradition of orchard products … We want to make sure people have access to that and that they’re sitting there having a drink and thinking about beautiful trees in nature and tasting something that gives you that feeling on a fresh summer day. It’s just another way to be thankful for the natural world.”

Halifax Magazine