Pride, greed, lust, malicious envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth—in the context of a Fredericton brewery they refer to the standalone chiller and the six fermenters: the seven deadly tins of York County Cider. Ed Teale, local brewer and mastermind behind York County Cider situated in Fredericton’s quaint Chestnut Plaza, has put a lot of thought into both the product and the branding behind his tempting beverages.
Ed’s love of cider dates back to 1991 when he made his first homemade batch. “I’ve always liked cider. I’m not a big beer drinker, so I prefer it over beer anyways. I’ve come a long way since the first batch. The last few years,I’ve been making a really nice product, and it’s finally come to fruition enough for me to want to share it with the Fredericton community.”
His love of cider isn’t the only thing that Ed’s shared with the Fredericton scene. He has lived here for the past fifteen years. In the midst of running a general contracting business, Ed worked hard to give back to the community. Sharing his love of cider with Frederictonians is another of his abundant contributions.
“We were on holidays four years ago in the UK and we saw how cider had really taken off there, in the last few years, since my last visit. I thought maybe it would be something that would work here and I think we timed it right, because cider has been really picking up the last three or four years in Canada and North America, business-wise.”
While local breweries in the Atlantic provinces have been gaining business over the last few years, craft cider has certainly grown in popularity as well. “I knew there were lots of micro-breweries around and lots of small wineries in Nova Scotia and Ontario, so there must be a way to do it here.”
If opening weekend was any indication of how profitable Ed’s new business venture is going to be, it’s safe to say that he will be in good shape over the summer when the days get hot and people are looking for something to relax and cool off with.
The grand opening of York County Cider was almost one full month ago. “It was phenomenal. It was the 18th of March and we were scrambling right until the last minute to get ready. There were two of us working in the back and we were five minutes late opening the doors. People rushed in and the place was full, and people were lined up out the doors. They were trying our product through sampling and buying as well. Customers were lined up outside for three solid hours at least; we couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t open cases of bottles fast enough and I didn’t have time to clear the space. I was practically kicking empty boxes out of the way, just to try and keep up.”
The opening weekend was a grand success and, although business has calmed down since then, the summer heat and some of Ed’s great ideas on expanding his customer base with York County Cider will certainly do great things for the company.
One idea that has drawn attention on social media is the branding on the company’s labels. “The apple appears in Western popular culture and Western mythology quite a bit, and so we thought we’d just play on that. There are a lot of phrases in our popular culture or speech: ‘the apple of my eye’, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, ‘how do you like them apples’, ‘apple polishing’, and ‘road apples’. We thought we’d work with these references. When we made the very first cider, we thought, ‘in the beginning’ with the Adam and Eve story; the apple features prominently with Adam and Eve, and so we decided that we would work with that reference primarily.”
It’s purely out of coincidence that two of the cidery’s staff working the Seven Deadly Tins are named “Adam” and an “Eve”, but it fits nicely with the theme.
Ed is looking at his business from a local perspective, drawing from the community’s strengths to collaborate and build up Fredericton’s name in the crafting world. One such example of this is in the art used for the York County Cider logo: “We worked really closely with a friend of ours, Drew Kinnickell. He teaches at the craft college downtown and he was able to take our ideas, and some research we’d done, and he came up with the first label and the logo for the company. It was really good and so we continued with the art style—sort of a wood-cut style art with some plain words and the titles of our different ciders.”
On top of going to a local artist for the company’s logo, Ed’s fourteen-year-old daughter had a hand in painting the apple tree mural on the inside wall of the brewery as well. He is looking to connect even more with the Fredericton arts community in the future through its music scene. York County Cider is inviting local musicians to play on Friday afternoons, their busiest day of the week.
“Today, we will have our first musician come in. A young fellow, Colton Munn-Myserall, is going to come play some acoustic guitar. He also plays the banjo and mandolin, so I’m not sure what he’s bringing, but he’ll play for an hour or two and we’ll see how it goes. The idea is to have one acoustic musician every Friday doing some indoor busking. I’ve got a list of musicians I am working from for now, but we’ll keep the community informed when we are looking for more local musicians to come in. We may even move it outside when the weather warms up.”
From Ed Teale’s partnering with local artists and musicians in the Fredericton area, to his dedication to keeping his product as locally sourced as possible, going so far as to get his cider ingredients from other local small businesses and vendors, he aims to give back to the community that has given so much to him. “I’ve received so much support from other local small businesses, artists, and musicians in my fifteen years in Fredericton that I want to give back to it as much as possible. We really are a local cider brewery and we want to project that in our product.”
For more information visit York County Cider on Facebook.