Cider Making

The story…

  • Being one of the oldest alcoholic drinks in the world, the Hebrews called it Shekar, the Greeks, Sikeraand the Romans, Sicera.
    In 1534, Jacques Cartier brought a few barrels from France
  • In 1650, it’s on mountainside of Mount Royal that the first orchard and the first cider press appeared in Quebec
  • In 1921, interestingly, cider almost totally disappeared due to administrative reasons: the Liqueurs Commission forgot to include it in its legislation
  • Until 1970, cider was technically illegal, which did not prevent Quebecers from producing and drinking very discreetly
  • In 1972, 11 cider houses produced 5.2 million liters of cider per year. Cider was sold everywhere, at a very low prices and poor quality
  • In 1988, the first artisanal production licence were issued, quietly opening the door to what would soon become a true passion: development of more and more refined products
  • 2000: a turning point in Quebec. An abundance of ciders of very high quality, refined to perfection in a constant search for innovation and sophistication
  • 2008: Ice cider is now regulated
  • 2014: Recognition of the Quebec Ice Cider designation – Protected Geographical Indication

Production of cider…

  • In 2016, 80 cider houses are operating in Quebec
  • It takes an average of 1.7 kg of apples to produce a liter of still cider (or flat) and 9.5 kg of apples to produce a liter of ice cider
  • Varieties of apples most cultivated by producers are McIntosh, Spartan, Empire and Cortland
  • Geographically, cider producers are predominantly located in Montérégie, Quebec City region, Eastern Townships and Laurentians
  • Most ciders are made with several different varieties of apples
  • Cider is created according to desired aromatic profile
  • Quebec’s moderate climate is ideal for producing apples. Which have a good balance between sugar and acidity, essential for the making of good quality cider

Step by step

  • Crushing and pressing: apples are crushed into small pieces and pressed to extract the juice
  • ‘’Débourbage’’: first deposit called the “bourbe” is eliminated
  • Alcoholic fermentation: to obtain a sparkling cider, a second fermentation takes place, either in the bottle or in a closed tank
  • Clarification: yeast deposits, also called dregs, are removed by “soutirage”
  • Aging in tanks or barrels
  • Bottling
  • Tasting 🙂

Ice cider

Only Quebec’s winter allows apple to freeze naturally to produce Ice cider! Whether apples are picked in fall or winter, concentration of sugars must be obtained by natural cold to allow the separation between apple juice and ice. Once extracted, the juice is then fermented at low temperatures for several months.

Ice Cider was invented in Quebec. Rather young, created in the 90s and inspired by Ice wine. In spite of its short existence, Ice cider has a place of choice in Quebec’s terroir. It is the outcome of three key elements: Quebec’s apple growing history, processing of apples into cider and the use of our harsh winter. Ice cider is now exported in more than 50 countries.


Concentration method
of Ice cider


  • Apples are harvested at full ripeness in fall
  • Stored until December, they are pressed to extract juices
  • Apple juice is placed outside during harsh cold of our winters
  • Freezing and thawing periods will help natural concentration of sugars
  • Vast majority of Ice ciders on the market are produced by cryoconcentration


  • Apples are harvested, stored and placed outside during cold temperatures
  • They may also freeze directly on the tree during winter
  • They undergo sun dehydration and are cooked by the cold and wind effect
  • Sugars are concentrated in apples and not in juice
  • They are pressed frozen
  • To identify it: search terms such as “cryoextraction”, “winter harvest” or “apples frozen on tree”