Fredericton — The owner of Red Rover craft cider is frustrated with NB Liquor because his product doesn’t fit into their rigid alcohol regulations. Adrian Cleave started the business last year, but has been faced with nothing but hurdles; since craft cider doesn’t fall into the existing beer and wine policies in the province, he has been forced to deal with the liquor corporation on a case by case basis.
Cleave said after researching the thriving craft cider industry in Europe, he was inspired to set up shop in New Brunswick — after all, the province is overflowing with apples, as well as craft-beverage connoisseurs. “It should be the perfect place to sell my product,” lamented Cleave, “but the problem is that NB Liquor has made it clear they think craft cider is ‘for wusses’ and ‘New Brunswickers drink Alpine and Moose.'”
“Around here, we drink Alpine and Moosehead — always have and always will,” confirmed NB Liquor spokesman Jack Wright. “I guess I seen a few sissies hanging around downtown sampling their fancy-pants ‘craft beer’ at all those damned beer festivals they’re always having — and that’s bad enough — but hard apple cider? C’mon … is that the kind of message we want to send to our young people? That they’re too good for Alpine?!”
“I heard that cider’s full of flower petals and spices and other fruity shit like that,” spat Wright. He then went on to say he has an 18-year-old son on the verge of being legal, and he doesn’t want to see his boy fall into the touchy-feely habit of appreciating such trivialities as “the taste” of his liquor or “where it came from.”
“He’s going to turn into one of those goddamned Ontario prisses!” exclaimed Wright, clearly horrified at the thought of his son developing tastes outside of the reigning Alpine and Moosehead umbrella.
Cleave said his Red Rover cider is marked up twice as much as beer and 100 percent more than wine. He’s been trying to keep costs low, but is feeling the pinch. He doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to make a go of it in the Picture Province if he can’t sell cider in NB Liquor stores, and if he’s given no clear rules in general.
“I think it might be viable if I could convince NB Liquor that craft cider isn’t a threat to their precious Alpine and Moosehead beers — which taste exactly the same, by the way,” he said with a sigh. “I need to find a way to make them realize that craft hard cider isn’t ‘pretentious,’ but is just plain delicious.”