Ontario pours $4.9M over 3 years into small cideries, distilleries

Ontario pours $4.9M over 3 years into small cideries, distilleries

The Ontario government announced Tuesday it will invest $4.9 million over three years to help small cideries and small distilleries build their businesses.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal told reporters at an LCBO outlet in Toronto that the Ontario small cidery and small distillery support program will provide eligible businesses with funds to expand their companies.

"Ontario cider and spirits industry is growing at an exciting pace," Sousa said in a news release.

"This program is good for business, good for customers and it's good for Ontario."

The program, which effectively provides a subsidy to eligible businesses, means they will be able to hire more staff and buy more equipment.

Eligible cideries will receive up to 74 cents per litre produced and eligible distillers will receive up to $4.42 per litre on eligible sales to a maximum of $220,000 per year per producer.

According to the province, LCBO sales of craft ciders rose 54 per cent in 2015-2016 from the previous year. Total sales for the fiscal year were $5.1 million.

It said there are more than a dozen small distilleries in Ontario they are located in such communities as Barrie, Guelph and Picton.

Currently, up to 130 grocery stores across Ontario can sell beer and cider, including up to 70 that can also sell wine.