Cider Corner: A Checklist to Shore Up Your Business Affairs

Thanks to James Kohn of Anthem Cider for this list. We wanted to share it with others. Recently, Brewer asked: “What have you added to your cidery lately (concepts, equipment or technology) that’s unique or making your business more successful?”

Here’s a great checklist that Kohn, who is a co-owner of Anthem, gave us:

  • Utilizing Purchase Orders to originate all purchases, Sales Orders to originate all sales and Work Orders to originate all operations done on/to inventory. These forms used in a complete system control inventory automatically.
  • Tank Logs that track information for TTB compliance and are linked to Work Orders.
  • SOP checklists on Work Orders.
  • Issue identification and resolution on all Work Orders. Issues used to update SOP checklist.
  • Tracking machine hours and process and employee time on all Work Orders.
  • Consistently questioning processes.
  • Stay current — close out the day, close out the week, close out the quarter, close out the year.
  • Individual emails should be used for internal communication. Shared Departmental emails (ie. sales@, events@, orders@) should be used for all external communication. Departmental inboxes cleared weekly at the latest.
  • Use daily checklists on paper that you carry with you.
  • Use a large wall calendar for planning and scheduling. Do not use online calendars unless they work for you.

Other cideries shared personal insight as well.

John Kowchak, the president and founder of Original 13 Ciderworks added that the Philadelphia cidery’s latest big purchase has been a 1,000-gallon bright tank.

“Canning is the biggest way for us to get our product out to a wide market, and right now we are maximizing the ability of our mobile canner,” he added. “Since we can’t increase the number of canning runs, the next best thing is to double the amount of cider we can on each run.”

Kowchak noted that by selling a quality beverage that customers come back to time and time again is a major key, of course.

“In the craft beverage market, most people will give you a shot, but selling one can of cider is not going to sustain you in the long run,” he said. “You need to develop a reputation for quality and consistency.”

After two years Kowchak feels that Original 13 is finally at a point where many of its wholesale customers will buy a new cider flavor without even asking to try it.

“They now trust us to supply them with a good quality cider that will sell well,” he said.

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