The Bricker Cider Company’s namesake was a tiny matriarch named Anne Bricker whose family towered above her even as she acted as their leader. It’s a striking image for the Sechelt BC-based company that’s making an outsized impact in the cider market with their relatively compact operation.
“Anne lived on a ten-acre property just 300 feet up the street from our current operations,” explains Nick Farrer, Bricker’s Operations Manager. “It had two acres of established orchard on it, but the apples would just fall down and be eaten by bears. Anne always used to say, ‘You all should do something with these apples!’ When I came into the scene by marrying into the family, I thought, as a typical Englishman, ‘Well, we’ve got some free booze here.’”
Inspired by Anne, the family—including Nick’s wife, her two brothers, and her father—got to work. They pressed their first apples and the cider left something to be desired, but it did, as Nick puts it, “get the job done, if you know what I mean.”
Determined to improve, Nick dove into the world of brewing. By the time his skillset was honed, the family was ready to launch a serious endeavour on a five-acre parcel nearby the original family property. But first, they had to figure out how to convert two of those acres into an orchard.
“None of us were farmers. We weren’t really good at any of the green-fingered things we needed to be good at. But suddenly, we had to get 1,000 apple trees into the ground and keep them alive.”
What came more easily to the family was working together. “I’ve always been incredibly proud of the fact that we’ve never had an argument in all this time we’ve worked together. We’re really good at working democratically. We take our time to make a decision and it’s usually the right one.”
Nowadays, the Bricker Cider Company operates on a beautifully developed version of those five acres they bought in 2017. They managed to make those two acres of apple trees thrive—and they are currently trellised and resemble a vineyard. They have a tap room that is open seven days a week in the summer and five days a week in the winter. Seven stainless steel tanks sit in their warehouse. People sit outdoors year-round in a newly built pavilion. It’s a sight to see.
“We get a lot of tourists from the Vancouver area, of course, but we’re so happy that locals have made this a place where they come and enjoy themselves. We like doing things with our local biking club, since we’re close to trails. A guy who is doing a charity run is having his after-party here. We love that sort of thing.”
Another almost-local partner (in Richmond, BC) is Great Little Box Company/Ideon Packaging (GLBC), producers of Bricker’s corrugated shippers since day one. “It can be pretty frustrating working with suppliers because they can be uncommunicative. But we never have that issue with GLBC. We feel so supported by them. For example, when we were building our pavilion, we were pretty cash poor and our rep with GLBC figured out a way to allow us to receive—and pay for—our order of shippers in stages, just to help us out.”
Looking to the future, Nick and the family are anticipating a time when they can “work a normal work week. You put in serious time in the first years of a business, and we have, but we’re excited to be able to relax more. And one day, I hope we can pass this business onto our children.”
We’d love to see it…and hopefully, by that time, we’ll still be working alongside Bricker Cider Company and the amazing family that built it.