If you are a cider lover in Nova Scotia, you have probably tried Bulwark Cider… or at least heard about the brand.
As one of the biggest cider producers in Nova Scotia, you can find Bulwark Cider in liquor stores across the province. With their beautifully funky bottle art, Bulwark definitely stands out on a shelf or in posts on social media. But what you may not know about Bulwark Cider is just how special their handcrafted cider is, and how much work they’ve done in our community to support organizations like the SPCA and Feed Nova Scotia.
I am a big fan of this local cider company, so I was excited to chat with Christine Fritz, Sales & Marketing Manager at Bulwark Cider, for the first Christmas Music 4 Local Business feature. During our conversation, Christine shared what makes Bulwark Cider so special, some lessons learned from running a business during the pandemic, and how our community can support Bulwark Cider right now. Keep reading our interview to see for yourself!
Can you tell me a little bit about Bulwark Cider and what makes it special?
Bulwark Cider is handcrafted cider, made in Nova Scotia with Scotian Gold apples. We are one of the largest cider producers [in the province?], with a total of 18 varieties of cider and five varieties of wine. All of our apples are pressed, fermented and bottled in New Ross, Nova Scotia.
At Bulwark Cider, we aim to use organic ingredients and be as sustainable as possible, all the way down to minimizing single-use cardboards and plastics. All of our products are gluten-free and vegan, except for our Gold Cider and Apple Honey Wine, which both contain honey. And, we actually started a Trustmark called Grade A Cider; it differentiates the genuine cider (made with 100% freshly pressed apples) from the ones that are made with added sugar, water or concentrate. Bulwark Cider is a genuine Grade A cider.
Bulwark Cider has done a lot of work in the community as well. We’ve donated to Feed Nova Scotia and worked with them to raise awareness about food insecurity and reducing food waste in the province. Over the last three years, we have also been working with the SPCA, and we’ve donated nearly $10,000 towards helping animals find homes. If you purchase the Bulwark SPCA Rose Cider right now, proceeds go towards the organization.
To support both Feed NS and the SPCA, we have a gift basked called the “Giving Back Basket” that can be ordered online. The basket includes our SPCA Rose Ciders as well as our Feed Nova Scotia’s People Ciders, and basket proceeds go to both organizations.
What is the best thing about being a business in Nova Scotia?
I would say that the best thing is definitely the willingness of other small businesses in Nova Scotia to work together; we all want the best for each other. It’s a very supportive and collaborative community.
What have been the biggest challenges running a business in the midst of the pandemic?
Every business has had its financial struggles, but one of the biggest challenges has been that we want to make sure we are taking care of our staff and associates, and their mental health. There is a lot of stress that they are not able to visit their families, worrying about their partners’ job security, and generally, mental health.
It has also been difficult to plan for the future, like for promotions, events or if we can even be open. The uncertainty is a challenge.
Have you learned any lessons in 2020 that you could share for inspiration?
It’s important to not overreact, and to take it one day at a time. Try to stay calm; there is always a solution to any problem that may arise if you’re creative. Take your time and think outside the box. Last year, Bulwark Cider delivery was non-existent and shipping was minimal, but that shipping and delivery have taken over this year. And we pivoted to making hand sanitizer.
Be flexible, remain calm and use your imagination.
What are some ways that the community can support Bulwark Cider during these times?
Our Halifax Cider House is open everyday, and the New Ross winery location is open Monday to Friday. We are following all public health guidelines like hand sanitizer, social distancing, taking contact information for contact tracing. People can stop in and make purchases, or they can order online for curbside pick-up at both locations. If you are in Halifax or Dartmouth area, home delivery is free for purchases over $50.
We are also shipping across Canada with Canada Post. We actually have a holiday shipping discount code “HOLIDAY20” that gets you $20 off shipping across Canada when you spend $120 or more online (not for delivery or pick-up).
If you want to buy a gift card for yourself or a friend, there is a promotion on gift cards online right now: save 10% when you purchase a gift card of $60 or more.
So come and enjoy or get a gift card for the cider lovers in your life!
If you haven’t seen the Christmas Music 4 Local Business music video featuring Bulwark Cider, check it out here! Bulwark Cider is also doing a giveaway until starting today until December 15 at 6pm AST for cider lovers. Check out the music video on Bulwark Cider’s Instagram (@bulwarkcider) to join in for a chance to win some delicious Nova Scotian cider.
And on a personal note: I am in love with the Bulwark Winter Cider limited release, so if you haven’t tried that yet, go pick up a few bottles to enjoy over the holiday season.