Meet the five brands changing the face of Canada’s non-alcoholic drinks industry

By John Clegg, NUVO, January 13, 2023

Once a barren landscape of sparkling waters, diet pops, and a few select beers, the world of non-alcoholic drinking has become vibrant with new diverse options that make not drinking not only the reasonable option but also a fun one. Nowadays, Canadian brands both established and new have hopped on the wagon, offering a liquid smorgasbord of options for those who want to cut back on alcohol, not flavour. Below, NUVO has rounded up five of the most exciting non-alcoholic drinks in Canada today.


This Airbnb Near Toronto is Nestled in an Apple Orchard and You Can Sip Flights of Cider

By Megan Renaud, NARCITY Toronto, August 3, 2022

There’s a modern cottage Airbnb for rent on a 75-acre property of green grass and blossoming orchards. You can spend a warm afternoon sipping hard cider in the sun or use the quaint stay as an excuse to kick off apple season with a bang.

The updated cottage is located at West Avenue Cider House in Hamilton. This hidden nature getaway is only about 20 minutes from downtown so you can spend some time exploring the city.


West Avenue Cider House in Freelton, Ontario: Award-Winning Cider in a Sublime Setting

By Christopher Mitchell,, November 23, 2021

West Avenue Cider House was in the Ontario cider game before it was cool to be in the cider game. They’ve firmly solidified themselves as one of the top cideries in Ontario, and all signs point to them continuing to blaze forward and pad their award chest.

One thing is for sure, it’s an awfully good time to be a fan of cider in Ontario. It’s not that just cideries are popping up all over the province, it’s that good cideries are popping up all over the province, and “the cidery” has very much become a destination…


What to drink: Three excellent ciders to try this fall

By Kelsey Adams, NOW Magazine, November 3, 2020

Cider overcame its reputation as a beer alternative for the gluten-averse in the past few years. Sweet and rich or dry and crisp, craft ciders are more complex and experimental than ever. More and more, cideries are playing around with spontaneous fermentation and adding unusual and rarely used ingredients to brews, making for unexpected flavours. The warm autumnal flavours of honey, caramel and butterscotch make these ciders perfect for fall.


Flamborough Apple Growers Managing through COVID, dry season

By Mac Christie, Flamborough Review, October 6, 2020

Despite a dry growing season and inevitable delays and labour shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Flamborough apple producers have weathered the storm for a successful season.


6 North American Cider Companies Worth Checking Out

Edited by Sheila O’Neill, Ezvid Wiki, June 21, 2020

If you’ve only had major-brand, mass-produced cider, you can be forgiven for being underwhelmed, but just know that you’ve been missing out. There are many great producers in the United States and Canada taking advantage of the excellent growing conditions to produce delicious cider from incredible fruit, employing modern techniques to extract as much flavor as possible from distinct varieties of apples and other ingredients.


Brews, buses and buddies: Hamilton tour group offers unique experience

By Amy Kouniakis, inthehammer, January 21, 2020

In the past several years, Hamilton’s craft brewery scene has grown in leaps and bounds and the city, as a result, has become a destination for beer lovers everywhere.

And now a local tour company is hoping to be your guide through this unique Hamilton scene.
One of the more popular stops they include on their tours is the West Avenue Cider House in Freelton.

“It’s not the cider of the ’90s,” Angela says. “It’s more like a sparkling wine cider.”

She says it’s the perfect stop for someone who isn’t necessarily the biggest beer fan.


West Avenue’s eclectic fall cider lineup, plus reviews for the new kid on the block — Niagara Cider Company

By Rick VanSickle, September 29, 2019

Chris Haworth is a successful chef by trade, but gave all that up to create West Avenue Cider, a full-service cidery he and wife Amy Robson (above with Haworth) built from the ground up and run together in Freelton (just north of Hamilton off Hwy. 6). The couple planted 100 types of heritage apples in their spectacular orchard and have the most complete and eclectic stable of ciders in the province. It is a destination cidery with a gorgeous tasting and retail facility and an ever-changing roster of ciders that show no limits to the experimentation of fermented apples and whatever they feel can enhance the experience — like blending in Niagara grapes (or wine), use of different oak barrels, addition of fresh Ontario fruit, changing up yeast strains or myriad sparkling styles…


A ‘no brainer’: Hamilton restaurants join Mealshare program to feed youth

By Laura Howells, CBC News, June 12, 2019

Eating at a Hamilton restaurant? You might soon be ordering for two.

The Mealshare program launched this week in Hamilton — meaning 11 local restaurants will now donate to youth charities each time you order certain items.

The… restaurants currently participating are Bliss Kitchen, Born and Raised, Lou Dawg’s, Brux House, Kamoosh Bistro, West Avenue Cider, Merit Brewing, The Endzone Bar and Grill, Mill Street and 5, The American House and Taylor’s Tea Room.


Top 5 Cideries To Visit Near Halton

By Rajpreet Sahota, inhalton, April 26, 2019

1. West Avenue Cider House

Located in Hamilton, West Avenue was awarded Best Cidery in Ontario in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. They offer hard ciders and only use the best ingredients, and a slow fermentation process…


West Avenue Cider’s Amy Robson wins Outstanding Business Achievement Award

By Mac Christie, Flamborough Review, Mar 21, 2019

Amy Robson will be named the Entrepreneur of the Year at the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards Gala on March 27.

Robson, who owns West Avenue Cider with husband Chris Haworth, said the award is an honour.

“It’s a huge honour and surprise,” she said. “It sounds so cliché, but even being nominated was a huge honour and surprise, so to win is fantastic.”


Ontario Craft Cider Popularity Gives Fruit Farmers Room To Grow

By Kelly Bennett, CBC News, Jun 23, 2017

“The pursuit of finely crafted cider led the husband and wife team behind West Avenue Cider to replant heritage crops that fell out of favour in Prohibition days.

Amy Robson and Chris Haworth planted 100 types of heritage apple trees on their orchard in Freelton, Ont., and just opened their doors to a new cider house this month.

Their company, West Avenue Cider, has been in business for five years, and picking up a number of awards in both Ontario and international cider competitions…”


Ontario’s Cider Makers Struggle With Restrictive Regulation

The Globe and Mail, September 13, 2016 (by Crystal Luxmore)

“Ontario’s cider makers struggle with restrictive regulationChris Haworth is a top cider maker in the country – a status that was solidified earlier this year, when his company West Avenue Cider won four gold medals and two best-in-class awards at the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition in Michigan, the world’s largest cider competition.

But there was no time to celebrate. The following day, Haworth was back at work on his year-old 75-acre farm outside of Hamilton, mucking out hundreds of holes to plant an apple orchard. And that work is just part of why it’s so difficult to produce Canada’s oldest alcoholic beverage.

The real problem is the government: When it comes to regulations, cider is the forgotten stepchild of booze…”


Local Producers: West Avenue Cider Company

Hamilton Spectator, July 13, 2016 (by Cathie Coward)

“Chris Hayworth brings the same experimental flair he employs in the kitchen to his cider making.

“A passion for the culinary arts” encouraged the Manchester native to give making cider a try. “It’s like, once you learn how to cook, how do you take that passion to the next level?”

The former executive chef at Spencer’s at the Waterfront in Burlington started messing about with cider recipes in 2008. He and wife Amy Robson had been to one of Ontario’s only cider companies at the time, Waupoos in Prince Edward County, and couldn’t understand why more people weren’t making the drink…”



Quench Me, April, 2014 (by Crystal Luxmore)

“Planting an apple seed will produce a more random result than pulling the handle on a Vegas slot machine. Apples grown from seeds are “extreme heterozygotes,” often only distantly related to their parent DNA.

It was these zany apples, born from seeds brought over from England and France by early settlers, which made up Canada’s first hard ciders. Because of the ease of harvesting the ingredients, cider was the tipple of choice for English and French settlers. It was a farmhouse drink: besides apples settlers would chuck in raisins, molasses, and other miscellaneous sugar to up the booze factor, often maturing it in a spare rum or port barrel…”


First Draught

Post City, June 5, 2014 (by David Ort)

“My rough, and somewhat hazy, count of the ciders I’ve tried this week is approximately 25. We are at the halfway point for the first (and hopefully annual) Ontario Cider Week, and there has never been a better time for cider in Toronto.

I can dimly remember when we only had two or three hard ciders at the LCBO. All of them were sickly sweet and at least one came in trashy 2 L plastic bottles. Obviously, we have come a long way to get to the point where several local cideries are making dozens of compelling takes on alcoholic apple juice.

West Avenue Cider is one of the leaders in the current wave of newcomers. The company was started by husband-and-wife team Chris Haworth and Amy Robson after Haworth decided he needed a change from his career as a chef. His resume ranges from London’s Quo Vadis to Burlington’s Spencer’s at the Waterfront…”



Look Local, June 4, 2014 (by Lynn Orgryzlo)

“As I sit in my armchair sipping Archibald Orchards sparkling hard cider from a tall slender flute, I’m not surprised to read that hard cider is the fastest growing alcoholic beverage in Ontario.

It was the first alcoholic beverage enjoyed in North America – the pilgrims fermented their apples – and since then, the drink has gone in and out of fashion. During prohibition, hundreds of acres of apple cider orchards in Ontario were ripped out, ending a thriving industry. Years later when prohibition was repealed, cider was the last alcoholic beverage considered for production because it takes an apple tree five years to produce apples…”



Wines in Niagara, June 19, 2014 (by Rick VanSickle)

“One was black as the night with a foamy crown for good measure. Another was beet red. Some had fizz while others were amber-gold and sparkled under the bar lighting. Many glowed in various shades of red while others were perfectly golden.

They came in all colours and styles on this night at WVRST, a popular King St. sausage and beer hall. WVRST turned over all its beer taps on the Wednesday night of a week-long celebration of all things cider to the newest beverage craze that is getting the full attention of drinks lovers: Ontario craft cider. One thing was made very clear on this night: This is NOT your grandma’s apple cider…”



Wines in Niagara, June 4, 2014 (by Rick VanSickle)

“Look out, Toronto! Ontario’s craft cideries are about to take over the downtown core for six days and nights of discovery and revelry that just might open up some eyes and palates to this growing beverage trend that’s exploded on the drinks scene in the last couple of years.

The relatively new Ontario Craft Cider Association is holding the inaugural Cider Week 2014 beginning June 2 at various venues in Toronto all culminating on Saturday June 7 with a “Tap takeover” at barVolo with all 32 taps pouring a diverse range of Ontario ciders over two sessions…”



From Rick VanSickle, May 8, 2014

“Look out, Toronto! Ontario’s craft cideries are about to take over the downtown core for six days and nights of discovery and revelry that just might open up some eyes and palates to this growing beverage trend that’s exploded on the drinks scene in the last couple of years.

The relatively new Ontario Craft Cider Association is holding the inaugural Cider Week 2014 beginning June 2 at various venues in Toronto all culminating on Saturday June 7 with a “Tap takeover” at barVolo with all 32 taps pouring a diverse range of Ontario ciders over two sessions…”



From BlogTO, May 2, 2014

“Cider in Ontario has historically been something of an overlooked category when it comes to adult beverages, which is strange given that it was likely one of the first alcoholic beverages consumed in North America–and also strange given that Ontario’s climate makes for perfect apples for making damn tasty ciders.

Luckily, there are some great cideries popping up in the province as of late, they’ve been widely embraced by the craft beer community (among others), and, since 2012, they’ve been associated under the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs as the Ontario Craft Cider Association (OCCA).

So it’s high time the great ciders of Ontario got some of the praise they deserve. Enter Ontario Craft Cider Week…”



Toronto, April 1, 2014

“…West Avenue yielded one gold, three silvers and a bronze at the Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) recently held in Michigan. The small-batch hard cider producer owes the winnings to innovative recipes coupled with careful fermentation and the region’s quality fruit…”


LCBO Cider Booklet, 2014

Chris Haworth, an artisanal cider maker and an active member of the Ontario Craft Cider Association, remembers when it wasn’t easy to drink local cider…


Toronto Sun, February 23, 2014 (by Jordan St. John)

“On Wednesday, I was honoured to be invited to judge the first annual Hard Cider Competition at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention. I found myself pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety of the entrants … Ultimately, the winner of the first annual Hard Cider Competition was West Avenue Cider, owned by Chris Haworth. Haworth is a force to be reckoned with, having trained as a chef under Marco Pierre White at Quo Vadis in London.”