- Lenny Mullins
Lake City Cider
35 Portland Street
Opens in June
Poet Comeau had a realization just over a year ago, when the company she worked for dissolved.
"I was lucky. The company that took on our company gave me a job," she explains. Comeau worked in alcohol retail, education and sales—mostly imports—for 12 years. "But I think it kind of showed me that there's risks, even when we don't think there's risks. Even working for somebody else."
That instance, combined with Comeau's desire to start her own business, lead her to uproot from her job. She's set up shop in Dartmouth, where she grew up, and is slated to open Lake City Cider at 35 Portland Street this summer.
"We just want to create something that honestly smells like apple blossoms and it smells like the valley," says Comeau. "We want to showcase the flavours of—that sounds cheesy, but—the flavours of Nova Scotia, and we really do have an array of flavours that are grown right here."
Comeau (who doesn't drink beer due to a gluten insensitivity) really started to become interested in cider back in 2001, when she travelled to the United Kingdom and discovered the variety of flavours and styles that were out there.
"The UK has this amazing array of ciders," she says. At the time, there wasn't much available in Canada besides Strongbow. In the last several years, however, cider has ramped up in Nova Scotia: Bulwark, Annapolis Cider Company and Chain Yard Cider are just a few of the province's alcoholic apple ventures. For Comeau, the timing feels right to join them. She was inspired by the businesses contributing to the revival of downtown Dartmouth, especially her friends at The Canteen.
"We watched them go from a sandwich shop on top of Two If By Sea on Ochterloney to this full-blown restaurant," she says. "This is kind of the time. If not now, when?"
Cider-drinkers can expect apple-forward, natural flavours from Lake City. One of the mainstay ciders is the Nieforth Original, named for the family who operated businesses out of the same Portland Street building for 80 years. Comeau describes it as semi-sweet, "but not too sweet."
Darkside Dry, Comeau's personal favourite, is "unapologetically dry," and ideal "if you're accustomed to beer-drinking," she explains. "It's dry, but you still get some really nice apple flavours."
Lake City Cider is aiming to open sometime mid-June. For now, you can get a taste of what's to come on tap at The Canteen.