BONNYVILLE – A new local business is inviting patrons to join the adventure and see how far the apple falls from the tree.
Journey North Cider Co. is preparing to open its doors in October at the 60518 Hwy. 28 facility, located just outside of Bonnyville.
The idea was formed when Amber Jury, Jeremy Bourboing, and Kelly and Brian Fieger began discussing their ideas of wanting to start a business venture in the area.
“We decided that we wanted to do something kind of unique,” noted Bourboing. “Amber and myself were always looking into doing a winery and (Kelly and Brian) decided to look into doing a distillery or brewery. All around the same time, we were thinking of doing something out here. We stumbled on cider around the same time and were like ‘oh, let’s do a cidery out in Bonnyville.’”
According to Bourboing, Journey North is the only cidery located within the Lakeland area.
“We have distilleries and breweries everywhere, but there’s not many cideries,” he noted. “There’s one in Edmonton, three in Calgary, and that’s really it. Aside from a few of the bigger players, we’d be the first ones up here.”
Kelly added, “There’s not a whole lot of cideries in Alberta right now. So it was kind of a new market and a good time for us to get into it. We’re the only orchard-based cidery in Alberta right now and we’re the furthest north cidery in Canada. It’s a fun little fact for the Lakeland.”
When it came down to the name, a number of possibilities were thrown out between the four owners before they finally landed on Journey North Cider.
“We went to the Alberta Craft Brewers Association… annual meeting and one of the things that everyone was driving home was ‘you have to be transparent, you want people to come along with you and get invested,’” Kelly recalled. “We were like ‘this is a journey for us. We don’t know what we’re doing. We know business, we come from business backgrounds and we had businesses in the oil and gas industry, but we wanted to try something different. It’s been a big journey for us and our social media reflects that. We share all of our progress in pictures and what’s happening. We want people to join in the adventure.”
Last year, just over 400 apple, crab, pear, plum, cherries, and different berry cheers were planted on Journey North’s 78 acres. Roughly 850 were added for production this year, and production has already started.
“It took us a long time to get to the point where we could actually (make) some cider,” said Kelly.
Bourboing said their tanks were empty for quite a while, which made it all the more special when they were able to make their first batch.
“Logistical set up was one thing at a time and we’re finally to the point where we’re almost about to have product.”
Once Journey North Cider officially opens, there will be food offered alongside their own drinks, and other options from local breweries and distilleries.
Bourboing and Kelly agreed they want to have a family friendly feel in their bar and restaurant area.
“We want to offer people a place to do activities, games, and to hang out with each other,” Kelly explained.
The owners already have plans for future development and what they can offer to the community.
“We want to have a bigger distrubution network,” Bourboing noted. “We want to expand to markets outside of Alberta, get North American and into the states with some of our alcohol. Expand the orchard, fill it, and add an event space where we can do farmer’s markets during the day and weddings during the night.”