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Québec Ciders

An applelicious delight!

Looking back in history, cider is undoubtedly among the most ancient forms of alcoholic beverages. A product of fermented apples, it has held many names. In antiquity, the Hebrews called it chekar, the Egyptians and Greeks sikera, and the Romans sicera.

It is said that cider first arrived in Québec with explorer Jacques Cartier, who had several barrels of it in his ship's hold. However, it was not until 1650 that the first cider house was built in what is now Québec. Cider was prohibited in the province from 1921 to 1970. It took until 1988 for the government to issue the first cider craft licences. Since then, the Québec has become a world leader in the art of cider making. Its unique products and international reputation are a point of national pride.

Québec boasts over 30 high-quality cider houses. The Montérégie region is Québec’s main cider-producing area thanks to its high concentration of orchards. Explore the region’s Cider Route to discover the many facets of apple and cider production. You can also visit the Mondial des cidres de Montréal to taste the know-how of our master cider-makers. In addition, quite a few wine events give visitors an opportunity to enjoy a range of Québec ciders.

Repertory of cider houses

© TQ/L.Turgeon
© TQ/J-F. Bergeron, Enviro Foto

There are five categories of cider in Québec:

Still cider
Still ciders are the best known and can be further broken down into light (1.5% to 7% alcohol) and strong (7% to 13% alcohol) versions. These are made from apples picked and fermented when fully ripe, and generally feature green apple aromas and floral notes. Like wine, ciders can be dry or sweet, depending on their sugar content.

Sparkling cider
Break out the bubbly! Whether sparkling or semi-sparkling, these ciders are a perfect pairing for brunches and celebrations. They feature mild apple, vanilla or fresh bread notes, and an alcohol content ranging from 2% to 12%.

Fire cider
The latest addition to the family! Fire ciders derive their “heat” from a higher alcohol content—anywhere from 9% to 15%—and the evaporation of apple sugars. This process, which is similar to that used to extract maple sugar from maple sap, gives the cider an amber colour. In addition to being more acidic, fire ciders have a sweet, caramel-like flavour.

Ice cider
A true Québec original! Our cold winters create the perfect conditions for maximizing apples’ sugar content. The fruit’s concentrated, fermented juice endows this cider with its unique, delectable taste. As with fire cider, ice cider’s sugar content is high, making it an ideal aperitif or dessert wine. You'll be charmed by its apple, caramel and honey aromas. Delightfully delicious!

Rosé cider
This cider’s colour stems from the varieties of apples used to produce it. Specifically, it derives from red-fleshed apples or from macerating red apple peels. Still, sparkling or ice, rosé ciders are available in every form.

© TQ/J-F. Bergeron, Enviro Foto


Québec ciders can be purchased at SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec) branches. You can also buy your cider directly from producers and at some of the province’s grocery stores and public markets. Have fun discovering the great taste of our ciders!