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Riley’s Cidery gets global accolades

Christine Hardie is in England where her family’s Sip & Tell Riley’s Cidery entry has won gold in the World Cider Awards

Riley’s Cidery has won gold in the International Brewing and Cider awards.

“We entered to see how we stacked up against some of the world’s best,” says Rob Purdy, cofounder of the the Bowen Island business. “As a brand new cidery we thought it would be fun to enter but to win was completely unexpected. We’re incredibly grateful for the result.

“It’s very cool to see Bowen Island on that list.”

There was only one other Canadian cidery in the winner’s circle.

And while the organic McIntosh apples featured in its Sip & Tell entry were not grown at the orchard on Bowen Island, the success is capping a year that’s had both challenges and victories for the nascent business.

Last week, a Supreme Court judge decided in favour of Bowen Island Municipality’s decision to grant a temporary use permit to Christine Hardie and Rob Purdy to operate the cidery at their property on Laura Road.

“It’s been a difficult process for us to go through but it was our neighbours’ right [to petition against the TUP],” says Purdy, who was minding the trees on Bowen while Hardie was in England for the cider championships. “We’re happy the way it ended up. It’s been a bit of a cloud hanging over our family’s business for the last six months so it’s nice we can finally move on from it.”

A couple of years ago, the couple bought the cherished apple orchard established by John and Josephine Riley and opened the cidery this past summer. The property features 1,200 trees which produce almost 1,000 varieties of apples. They also lease an apple orchard in the Similkameen Valley and use its apples to augment the harvest on Bowen Island.

It was a dry summer for the orchards but the couple had access to enough water to nourish the trees. The two ciders which feature Bowen apples — Long Lost Apples and Dopple Jack, using quince from two bountiful trees — are now fermenting. In a couple of weeks, the couple’s Christmas sparkling cider will be available for sale.

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