​Cider Corner: ​Adjusting ​Your Business ​Plan

​A business plan is a first step toward building your cidery. Some alterations do take place, but for the most part, sticking to that plan can be a key to success, provided you start with a solid plan.​

“We stuck pretty close to our plans and our sales for the first month in business were about four times what we projected,” said Wild Terra co-founder Ethan Hennings. “We incorporated a small kitchen into our menu which wasn’t really planned out initially but when we offered a couple of small plate items people demanded more food.”

St. Vrain Cidery altered their plans a bit only to better reflect what they can legally do in Colorado.

“We had hoped to open a taproom where we could sell ciders from all over the world, but in order to do that we would have to run a kitchen as well,” said Cindy Landi. “The law says if we sold anything manufactured outside of Colorado that 15 percent of our revenue would have to come from food sales.”

So St. Vrain instead decided to focus on one business at a time.

“Running a kitchen is an entirely different than running just a taproom,” she said, deciding they would be a destination for Colorado cider. They have 24 taps, carrying their own products while also representing as much of the Colorado cider industry as possible.

Originally ​New England Cider ​was only going to bottle ​their products.

“Once we got up and running we found it was easier to sell kegs to bars, especially to craft beer bars because they were just catching on here in Connecticut,” Seth Hart said, noting that kegs to bars, breweries and restaurants has been their most productive form of sales.

“Once people have had our cider they usually want to come and visit our tasting room,” Hart said. “We opened our tasting room in 2016 and [it] has been doing better every month.

“Now a days, once breweries open up they focus more on the tasting room and keeping most product in house where they make the most profit. That works for us as well.”

Gregory Asplin​ ​said he ​didn’t get into the business of making cider to run a bar, so Desert Cider House​ ​didn’t have a taproom or even a tasting room​ to start​.

​”​It would have complicated the whole endeavor, and besides, we have day jobs​,” he said. “We really just wanted to make cider. We ​did originally think we would self distribute because we didn’t figure a distributor would be interested in us due to the volume we expected to do.

​”​However, startling this cidery was really a side job and it all boils down to time for us. We really just do not have enough time to self distribute with working our regular day jobs. So we sought out a distributor and asked if they would be interested in a local craft cider, and it turns out that they were eager to work with us. I suspect it was partly timing because there really were no locally crafted hard ciders in Arizona when we started. So we decided to go that way and have them distribute let them do that work for us. It has the added benefit of giving us a wider distribution than we would be able to support ourselves. We are available now statewide instead of just locally.

“Additionally, they already have contracts and contacts with a large number of bars and restaurants and we would have to cold call everyone to get in the door.​”​

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