Cider Corner: Attracting Consumers Through Events

Your cidery’s taproom is where the story originates. It can give an intimate setting to try the product and not have to compete with other drink options. But getting those potential consumers might be a challenge, so creative events to connect with the community can help kick start sales.

Located 60 miles north of Richmond, Virginia, Coyote Hole Ciderworks‘ Chris Denkers said that being in a more remote location can have it’s challenges when it comes to bringing in more people into the tasting room and increasing your sales.

“During the peak summer season, we market our ciders and tasting room through the normal channels: social media, website, search engines, magazines and radio,” he said. “During our off season, we have to be creative to bring people in.”

They hold a lot of different events at the tasting room, he said.

“People like to go out and do things, especially different things that they don’t usually do,” Denkers noted. They hold a wide range of events such as Friday Night Movie Nights on the Lawn, Trivia Nights, Live Music, season specific festivals and events such as Meet Santa or, for Coyote Hole, they hold a Fall Apple Festival.

Eastman’s Forgotten Ciders has been a Chamber of Commerce member for a few years now, and that’s been a great way to build relationships said Nicole Ward.

“Specifically, we work with the young professionals group of the Chamber, and focus our efforts there,” she said. While a cidery may not always see the return on it directly, they feel strongly about donating time, money, giveaways and product to charitable organizations whenever possible.

“We feel a responsibility to help our community and whether or not it drives business, you just hope for the best and try to continue to do good things,” Ward said.

Denkers said Coyote Hole also does a lot of fundraising, such as its Pints for Paws event raising money for scholarships to send children to dog training camp, or a Holiday Toy Drive to help give presents to children who won’t get any during the holidays.

“You have to be creative when it comes to bringing people into your tasting room and having a wide variety of different events or options for people is key to bringing in as many people as you can,” he said.

“Be available, be a part of the community where they can call the tasting room their hang out,” said Mary Paulson of Poochie’s Hooch Urban Cidery. She said that always staying active, changing the flavors, changing the specials, changing the food trucks, even changing the artwork by local artists can breathe life into your taproom.

“But show a consistency in the cider itself and in customer service,” she said. “It’s not about how to get people to come in to the tasting room, it’s about how to get them to come back.”

Apart from going viral for something, it’s a constant challenge to stay in the news feed, Ward said.

“And then, it’s work to make sure people enjoy themselves when they come out to our tasting room,” she added. “That certainly helps with word of mouth, but all in all, it’s a lot of work.

“We have had some success in our season openings, as well as special release parties. Specifically we experimented with different hops for a dry-hopped cider. We let people come out and sample all the different options and give us feedback. We even took name suggestions. That was a lot of fun and a great way to interact with the consumer.”

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