That’s because cider, which enjoys wide popularity in Quebec today, had in the past experienced a long period of neglect. “Both my great-grandfather and grandfather brewed cider on a small scale – because production was illegal at the time,” recalls the young entrepreneur. For 50 years, from 1921 to 1970, the word “cider” inexplicably disappeared from the list of Quebec legal beverages.
Even after production was restored during the 1970s, cider quality left much to be desired. Pressed for income, producers cut corners to accelerate fermentation. Lasnier’s father, Michel, called it a fiasco and refused to have anything to do with it. “For him, the word cider was synonymous with headache,” Lasnier jokes. “By the time I joined the company when I was 17, there was a new regulation in place and the winds began to shift. By sheer perseverance, I managed to convince my father to start production again.”
Michel has never looked back. Thanks to his son’s know-how acquired during his training and travels, the venture has proven successful. Since 2003, the Vergers products – ranging from crackling, still, sparkling, ice and on-the-lees ciders to apple musts – have proliferated and impressed consumers with their refined quality. “There are as many cider styles as there are cider drinkers,” the master cider-maker points out. “Some are light on the palate, others fuller-bodied depending on the fruit’s aromas, the degree of concentration and the alcohol content. To each his, or her, own!”