In our second episode of “Dousing the Fire”, our drinks Yin to the chef Yang of “Fanning the Flames”, we chat with the Founders of Brickers Cider, Nick Farrer & Russell Moore.
How did the idea to open Brickers first come to be?
It was a combination of many things. The main reason is that the family orchard on Norwest Bay Rd (not where the cidery is currently) was originally owned by Grandma: Anne Moore. She used to tell the grandchildren to go and do something productive with the apples as they were not being used: make pies, cider, fruit leather etc. That was our main inspiration, but we also all wanted to live full time on the coast. The grandchildren and spouses were living ‘off-coast’ and needed to start a business to make this happen….. with the gap in the craft market being obvious after beer had taken off we decided to go for it.
Were you hard core cider lovers going into this?
Not ‘hardcore’ but we were all cider drinkers and knew what we wanted to make. I’d say we were 7/10 on the cider geek scale.
Will the current site and operation be able to sustain growth? Yes, but to a point. There are many regulations and some of them restrict us as to how much cider we can make.
I know you’re sourcing apples from outside of Brickers but are they still all Coast fruit? No, we have a large leased orchard in the interior. All our fruit is and has to be from BC.
Do you find there are enough varieties of apples for all the ciders you want to produce?
No, BC has suffered from apple orchards being ripped out and grape vines going in. So the best cider varietals are very rare. This is increasing as BC craft cideries are now growing lots of interesting cider varietals, but demand definitely is beating supply right now.
This one seems like a little kid question but how many apples would it typically take to make one of your standard size bottlings?
Other than the difference of barley vs apples, is there a substantial difference between making beer as opposed to cider?Yes. Cider making is almost identical to wine making. You are taking a fruit juice and fermenting it. To make alcohol you need sugar. Fruit juice has the fructose ready to go. To make beer you have to steep it to extract sugars and depending on the steeping temperature you’ll extract different sugars.
What difficulties/ hurdles have you had to overcome since inception?
Too many to list. The red tape list is endless. The hours are huge. Someone told me the other day they were thinking of starting a cidery as a ‘semi-retirement’ job. Hahaha. If semi-retirement is 70 hours a week! You have to be an expert in 30+ different skills: accounting, cider making, orcharding, form filling, building and renovating etc and the only people to do that (unless you’re a millionaire) is you.
You’re continually releasing new products. Where are you finding all the inspiration?
We sit and talk about what might work a lot. We also track a lot of the US cideries as they’re the front runners in weird and whacky stuff. We also take a lot of inspiration from craft beer as we’re also passionate about that (mostly drinking it!)
Where do you see Brickers in the next 2/3/5 yrs? Will you continue with cider or branch out?
We will marginally increase production to allow all the owners to be paid a reasonable income for what they do. Currently there is still a lot of free work being done. We want to get to 5 years open (currently 3) and then take heed of where we are, breath for a bit, and then take out next step. Not sure what that is yet! Making a different product (beer or spirits) involves exactly the same application process and red tape so it’s not too tempting right now!
Last question and this is for both of you; If you’re not drinking cider, what’s it gonna be?
Nick: I’m happy to admit I’m a huge beer snob. I don’t like anything too whacky, just something really well executed. The best beer made on the coast right now is the Backwards Hazy Pale Ale by Tapworks in Gibsons. The perfect amount of hazy, juicy flavours with the right body and bitterness. I’m also really into bitters based drinks right now. Anything with Campari, cinzano, rubato etc are for me!
Russell: If I’m not drinking cider it’s usually beer! I’m a huge craft beer enthusiast. My preferred brews are definitely New England IPA’s. On the spirits side of things I really enjoy a nice Bourbon on the rocks, or better yet an Old Fashioned!
6642 Norwest Bay Road
Sechelt. Sunshine Coast
BC. V0N 3A8
Monday & Tuesday
OFF SALES ONLY 1-5
Wednesday – Friday
1 – 7
Saturday & Sunday
12 – 7