Cider Corner: Tips on Immersing Staff into Your Cidery’s Culture

Don’t just sell it, serve it, or make it, but live it. That’s how creating a strong staff can help educate and entrust those in your cidery to be a brand booster.

Two Towns Ciderhouse provides extensive education upon hiring of the history and styles of cider to all employees.

The accounting team gets the same thorough training that the production crew receives, explained Marketing Manager Madison Shirley. All employees are encouraged to participate in sensory evaluation training and continuing sensory education.

“All people bring something unique to the table and we are listening,” she said. “All of these tools build a friendly knowledgeable team that is willing and able to represent our brand truthfully.

“Having a crew that is obviously content and confident in their ability is visible to our customers, both the general public but also commercial accounts and buyers. We pride ourselves on being the sort of people that others enjoy seeing. The product speaks for itself in quality, we’re looking to open the door to relationships.”

Swilled Dog Hard Cider takes the time to educate on the greater cider market and what makes cider special to its employees.

“The history behind cider is important to be able to communicate with customers,” explained co-founder, Brooke Glover. “We also spend time walking them through a tasting and how to communicate to our customers with each cider that is released in the tasting room.”

Glover said they do education for staff in several ways and let team members know that they are able to learn as much as they want.

Swilled Dog encourages and offers to pay for the Certified Cider Professional certification through the American Cider Association and its tasting room staff is able to learn about how to make cider by spending time with our production staff and cider makers.

Shirley said the Two Towns’ company culture could be described as kind and compassionate with a drive for ongoing education.

“We treat all employees as absolutely essential, regardless of role or tenure,” she said. “We are like family, in that we are willing to roll up our sleeves and help out in any department, knowing that the coworkers will also help us out when we need it.”

With that kind of culture, cross-training is important.

“It provides a perspective of daily struggles, strengths, and weaknesses of others, and also informs our individual positions with the deadlines and complexities of other positions,” Shirley said, adding that they encourage consistent inter-departmental communications that often provide clear and detailed needs and expectations, but also fosters a “family” dynamic.

Glover also said that Swilled Dog encourages its team to get involved in the charitable giving of the cidery and for them to find their passion there

“It is THE most important part of our business,” Glover said.

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