At Windfall Cider, it seems everything comes in twos. Jeff and Nathaly Nairn—the duo behind the new urban cidery—met on the SkyTrain, married on the SkyTrain and, after a couple of years, started a business—just the two of them. Their first two ciders—a “Jackpot” dry and a “Hail Mary” rosé—came in two brightly colored cans, emerald green and bright pink, respectively. Even their company name came to them from two conversations: the first being their shared belief in making your own luck; going out into the world and chasing your fortune. The second, a childhood memory Jeff had of shaking tree trunks until apples fell from the tree—what his mother and sister called their “windfall.”
When I ask Nathaly, a former wine consultant in the hospitality industry, why they chose to dive in with a cidery rather than join the currently hip and ever-expanding natural wine or craft beer industries, she recalls a trip to Mexico City where they were blown away by a Spanish cider. “This is more than just a drink you have on a boat or sitting in your cupboard. It really can rival a wine pairing in many ways.”
Back home in Vancouver, the couple took some fresh apple juice they had in their fridge and decided to experiment with fermentation—in their living room. “In three-and-a-half weeks we made alcohol,” she says, adding, “of course, it was quite boring and nothing you’d want to sell, but we were hooked.”
The idea of starting an urban cider company as opposed to moving to the Okanagan grew out of their respect for farmers and their extensive market research. In addition to apple farming not being something you easily up and start doing with no experience, an Vancouver-based cider company also makes it easier to reach their target market. “We saw that most consumption was in areas close to urban centres,” Nathaly notes.
They import juice from apples grown in the Interior and ferment it out of Central City Brewing‘s Surrey, B.C. brewery. They found their supplier simply by making a cold call to a farmer who just happened to be one of the most prolific growers and celebrated farmers in B.C. Nathaly laughs, recalling the conversation: “He said, ‘I’ve got 100 litres of juice. I’ll come drop it off.’”
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