Why Mojave Brewing Leans Into Cider Sales

You don’t get to choose your flagship. It’s been stated before and will be said again. A brewery owner may have an idea of what will sell, but once you open and put the product out in the market, it will be the consumer that leads the way in what you sell for the most part.

John Griffith and Nate Carney opened Mojave Brewing outside of Las Vegas in early 2020 the idea of having both a cider and beer license was a unique proposition.

“We just decided that we were going to keep the cider in the game, which I think was a good choice,” Griffith said. Although he needed to do more steps with the TTB to get opened, the whole goal, he told Brewer, was to keep couples together when going out for a drink.

Having a wife who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2008, he knows the struggles it can be to have a group of people go out to a brewery and not everyone either likes beer or can’t drink it.

“Keep the team together if you’re out drinking with friends, keep them here,” he said.

Even with the pandemic looming during the brewery’s first year, a batch of non-adjunct cider went on tap and began to sell.

READ MORE: ​Cider Corner: Is Intensive QC Needed?

“I think after like a week or two, we decided to do a flavored cider,” Carney said. Eschewing extracts, Freedom of Peach debuted by blending in purees and concentrates.

“Peach outsold the base cider 20-to-1,” Carney said. “I remember us saying, ‘Well, we’re not going to make a traditional base cider anymore, it’s always gonna be flavored,’ so we started messing around different flavors.

Oh of those flavors was strawberry lemonade. With both owners having a skateboard and punk rock background, the brand Punk Lemonade was put on tap and it has become a staple for the company.

“Pink lemonade … Punk Lemonade it only seemed natural,” Carney said. “The name itself is kind of edgy and we put the anarchy sign on the board to cue people’s attention to it to try it.”

Punk Lemonade was outselling everything else, Carney added.

“So we’re like oh, I guess this is our flagship and we decided to put in distribution and it took off,” he said. Mojave is the only in-state-made cider distributed in Nevada, which gives them a unique advantage as well in touting local sales opportunities. The naming scheme for both cider and beer is unique as well.

“We tried to name our ciders after punk songs or in reference to punk songs,” Griffith said with ciders named Tropical London and Ruby Soho, both songs by Rancid. “We’ve gone in and out from different names for that. But then also our beers we were doing references to movies and pop culture. All of our IPAs, for the first two and a half years, were based on Patrick Swayze movies. At one point, we were able to do a ‘Crazy for Swayze’ flight as we had four different Swayze beers on.

“We’ve been saving Dirty Dancing and Ghost for special beers.”

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