Cider Corner: Different Definitions of Expansion

As a cidery grows, so does the definition of expansion. It can be done physically with moves in-house by adding more tanks, or in terms of growth outside the cidery walls, either in distribution to off-premise retailers or even moving into a new territory outside of the base called home.

Another way to expand is by adding a completely secondary location, be it for more production or another tasting room to help expand branding and awareness.

“A secondary location — specifically a tasting room — is much more feasible than expanding distribution,” said Alpenfire‘s Philippe Bishop. “The current market is not ready yet for producers like ours to have solid distribution on a medium-to-large scale. A couple of producers have been able to pull it off, but for most heritage producers it does not make sense to give away that margin.”

Alpenfire has weighed its options, mainly looking at sales numbers and seeing how current distributors for the brand have done versus what Bishop said Alpenfire has done through self-distribution.

He said cideries also need to watch the market, asking questions like: will the consumer base accept an off-site orchard-based cider’s tasting room?

Jefferson County Ciderworks has opened a second location for production purposes only. However, Katie Greenfield said that they did build a lounge/bar/workspace to allow the cidery the opportunity to host special events in the production space along with tours and ‘block parties.’ The taproom remains in its original location as of now.

“We plan to expand distribution but keep our hub in one location, with the potential to open additional taprooms,” she explained.

Factors of consideration were ​assessed, with ​product placement control, quality control and growth​ as the main factors for choosing the route Jeff Co. chose.​

Original 13 Ciderworks’ founder and president, John Kowchak, said the Philadelphia-based cidery is discussing options right now.

“Opening a second location in our state would be challenging as I’m not sure there is enough demand for craft cideries in our state outside of big cities like Philadelphia,” he said. “I think for now we are focused on increasing our distribution range and setting up seasonal locations at farmers markets during the tourist season.

“This way we can minimize the costs of operating a whole tasting room while expanding awareness of the brand.”

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