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Cider with a splash of history: Bear River couple launching hard apple cider

Brendan Enright, co-owner of Casa Nova Fine Beverages, is getting excited for the business' new hard apple cider launch in May.
Brendan Enright, co-owner of Casa Nova Fine Beverages, is getting excited for the business' new hard apple cider launch in May. - Amanda Doucette

BEAR RIVER, NS- Brendan and Karen Enright opened a winery in Bear River in 2009 and after years of working in the business they’re ready to add some new products.

For the last five years the pair has been practicing making hard cider and working up to crafting the perfect recipe for the new drink.

“You have to spend time experimenting if you want to get it right,” said Karen.

They’ve changed their name from Annapolis Highland Vineyards to Casa Nova Fine Beverages.

“Our approach with making the cider really comes from our knowledge of wine making,” said Brendan.

Brendan has worked with many other businesses to create local ciders and wines.

The new 1606 Good Cheer Craft Cider will launch in local restaurants, bars and be sold at their brewery in May.

The 1606 Good Cheer cider label includes a coloured version of an original drawing by Samuel De Champlain. Keep an eye out for this label, this Spring.
The 1606 Good Cheer cider label includes a coloured version of an original drawing by Samuel De Champlain. Keep an eye out for this label, this Spring.

“We still have lots of fermenting to do,” he said.

The Enright’s use all local products in their beverages. They are using apple cider from Windsor, Nova Scotia for their new hard cider.

“We like our products to mean something to the locals. If the locals don’t like our products then what’s the purpose of selling them,” said Karen.

The name 1606 Good Cheer Cider ties in to that message. In 1606 Samuel De Champlain founded the Order of Good Cheer in Port Royal, Nova Scotia.

The purpose of the order was to spread good food, drinks and entertainment to the new settlers, said Karen.

“Our label design depicts the year the Order was founded as well as a sketch of Port Royal which was drawn by Samuel de Champlain.  Also represented on the label is our Nova Scotia tartan, apple blossoms and a short description of the Order on the back label.”

The first Canadian apple tree is known to have been planted in Port Royal.

The new cider, 1606 Good Cheer, is being fermented right now at Casa Nova Fine Beverages in Bear River.
The new cider, 1606 Good Cheer, is being fermented right now at Casa Nova Fine Beverages in Bear River.

“We wanted to honour not only our local history with this cider but also the wonderful Nova Scotian fruit that we have to work with.  We have so much to celebrate here in our area of Nova Scotia and we are pleased to be able to incorporate some of our local history.”

The Enright’s have watched the cider market grow over the past few years and they’re confident the new product will be a hit.

“From what I’ve seen the market has been increasing faster than the wine and craft beer sales, so we’re hoping for the best,” said Karen.

The cider will be gluten free.

“Every time I turn around there’s someone in my circle who can’t have gluten anymore. We’re so happy to offer an alternative for those who can’t have it.”

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