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Calgary cider company making batch from unwanted fruit to help food bank

Cider aficionados will soon be able to raise a glass of locally produced cider and land some support to the Calgary food bank at the same time.

Calgary-based Uncommon Cider put the call out this week for unwanted fruit from Calgarians’ trees, and the response was overwhelming.

Uncommon Cider founder Brodie Thomas said they’ve had 200 emails in less than 24 hours with offers of free apples, crab apples, sour cherries and more.

“We’re asking people to pick their own if they can,” said Thomas. “We’re also looking for volunteers to come help.”

Thomas said he first got his start in cider making by collecting unwanted fruit around Calgary.

“It made me realize how many fruit and apple trees are everywhere,” said Thomas. “They just fall and end up in compost or go to waste.”

Commercially, Thomas has been getting most of the fruit he presses from the Okanogan Valley, so he’s looking forward to producing something that is 100 per cent local.

This will be the second year that Uncommon Cider has collected fruit to help a local charity. Last year they wanted to help Inn from the Cold.

Shawna Ogston, spokeswoman for the Calgary Food Bank, said they are unable to accept donations of fruit directly for food safety reasons, but they are now redirecting those offers to Uncommon Cider.

“Calgarians are so generous and creative in the many ways that they give and this is a great example of that,” she said in an email to LiveWire.

“We receive so many calls about an abundance of apples so we are delighted that the fruit is being used, neighbours and volunteers are coming together and the delicious results will help families and individuals.”

For those looking to buy a bottle, it may take some time.

“Its going to be a while,” said Thomas. “You probably won’t see these until April. Cider takes a lot longer than beer.”

He said they ferment it and then age it before putting it on the market.

For those looking to drop off apples there is a schedule with locations around the city:

● Thursday, August 30th from 5PM – 9PM at The Food Realm (1221b Kensington Rd NW)
● Sunday, September 2nd from 11AM – 4PM at National 17th (550 17 Ave SW)
● Friday, September 7th from 5PM – 9PM at Citizen Brewing (227 35 Ave NE)
● Sunday, September 9th from 12PM – 4PM at Cannibale Bridgeland (813 1 Ave NE)
● Friday, September 14th from 4PM – 8PM at Cannibale Mount Royal (1126 17 Ave SW)
● Sunday, September 16th from 11AM – 4PM at Last Best Brewing (607 11 Ave SW)
● Friday, September 21st & September 22nd at The Mashing (Stampede Grandstand)
● Sunday, September 23rd from 11AM – 3PM at Dairy Lane Cafe (319 19 St NW)

Drop-off can also be arranged by contacting Uncommon Cider by email at hello@uncommoncider.com

Thomas said they can take fruit that is bruised, but not moldy.

Editor’s note: The author of this story and the subject happen to have the same name. They are not related.