SunRype has been one of Kelowna’s economic mainstays for 70 years, and the company is celebrating its ongoing success with a tasty homage to its past.
“We were feeling nostalgic and looking for a way to celebrate,” said Dave McAnerney, president and CEO of SunRype Products Ltd.
To find some inspiration representatives delved into the book Deep Roots and Strong Branches, written by Ian Greenwood and Sharon Simpson.
There they learned of another way that the company was a local pioneer. In the 1950s SunRype produced B.C. Sparkling Cider, a hard drink, that was processed and bottled by the Caribou Brewing Company in Penticton.
“We always thought it was a soft cider, but we found out it was an alcoholic cider,” said McAnerney. “What better way to celebrate the past than bring back that product?”
The revamped product, wrapped in retro labelling that is applied by hand, is simply SunRype Cider and the partnership bringing the product to local shelves is with Big Surf Brewery, also from the Okanagan.
McAnerney is excited for the new product, which is not the first, second-coming of SunRype’s duo into alcoholic beverage production. They are already partnering with Big Surf for their Rider Cider, which was the first big step in changing the company’s profile.
McAnerney pointed out that SunRype used to be known as a fruit snack and beverage company, but with the development of hard ciders and even a coffee line—born from a partnership with JJ Bean Coffee Roasters—SunRype is a food and beverage company with an international portfolio.
“That shift is creating further opportunity for growth,” he said, noting that the cold coffee they now produce is packed in the Kelowna plant, where 300 area residents are employed.
“What else is changed in recent years we have expanded into the US, and we’re happy with the growth we are seeing there and in China.”
Now that the company has an international reach, some of the ownership locals once felt for it has faded away. Quite often people he speaks to are surprised to find out SunRype is a Kelowna based company, and not run out of California and Ontario.
McAnerney says he hopes to change those misconceptions in the days to come.
“We support local because we want to see friends and neighbours succeed,” he said.
“Part of what we’re trying to do this year is remind people we are a local company.”
SunRype still operates in the heart of B.C’s Okanagan Valley, where the company first launched its flagship 100% Pure, Not from Concentrate Blue Label Apple Juice. Today, SunRype is an iconic Canadian brand, but has continued to innovate to stay relevant to today’s consumers with the launch of many new food and beverage products.
SunRype Brand Okanagan Apple Cider is available in 650ml bomber-style bottles at select private liquor stores in B.C.