Kelowna's Cider Revolution: A Journey Through Local Cideries

A row of glasses filled with liquid sitting on top of a red wooden table next to another glass filled with liquid.
Upside Cider


In Kelowna, a different kind of beverage revolution is bubbling up. Kelowna's cider scene, once overshadowed by its vinous counterparts, is now claiming its rightful place in the spotlight. Embark on a journey through the orchards and cider houses of Kelowna, where the fusion of traditional methods and innovative spirit is crafting a new narrative for Canadian cider.

The Rise of Cider Making in Kelowna

The story of Kelowna's cider revolution is as rich and varied as the flavours of its ciders. It traces back to the early 20th century when pioneers like George Washington Ward planted the first cider apple trees, laying the foundation for today's cider industry. These orchards initially thrived, but as Kelowna industrialized, and the demand for cider waned in favour of beer, many cider apple orchards were replaced. However, the revival of craft beverages has seen a resurgence of cider-making in Kelowna, with some cideries even seeking out heirloom apple varieties for their unique flavours​.

Profile of Key Local Cideries

Kelowna's cider landscape is dotted with establishments that each bring a unique flair to the craft.

  • Wards Cidery: Based in a vintage apple packinghouse, Wards continues the legacy of cider making, using traditional methods to craft their ciders from the very trees planted by George Washington Ward himself.
  • BC Tree Fruits Cider: In 2014, BC Tree Fruits leveraged its rich history in fruit cultivation to craft ciders that are a natural fit with the region's agricultural heritage​.
  • Upside Cider: Known for its innovative spirit, Upside Cider steps beyond the traditional, hosting events like the 420 Kelowna Music and Arts Celebration, showcasing their versatility and community engagement.
  • Scenic Road Cider Co.: This family-run cidery, set amidst a beautiful apple orchard, offers a range of ciders that embody the harmony of tradition and innovation​.

Cider Making Process and Innovation

In Kelowna, cider making is a careful blend of art and science. The process begins with the selection of the right apples – a mix of heirloom and modern varieties. The apples are then crushed and pressed, with the juice fermented to create the cider's base. This is where innovation steps in – local cider makers experiment with yeast strains, fermentation techniques, and aging processes to create distinct flavours and profiles. This fusion of traditional methods with modern innovation is what sets Kelowna's ciders apart.

Cider Tasting and Tourism

Cider tasting in Kelowna is more than just a sip of a beverage; it's an immersive experience. Visitors can explore tasting rooms set in idyllic orchards, where they're tasting cider, and also enjoying the story and passion behind each bottle. The cideries often offer tours, giving an insider's view of the cider-making process, from orchard to glass. Integrating with Kelowna's larger wine and culinary tourism scene, cider tours add a refreshing dimension to the local gastronomy.

Community and Environmental Impact

Kelowna's cideries are deeply rooted in the community. Many are family-owned and prioritize sustainable practices, from using locally sourced apples to implementing environmentally friendly production methods. These cideries often support local events and charities, reinforcing the bond between the community and the cider-making tradition.