​Cider Corner: Tips on Avoiding Early Road Bumps

​There are always hurdles that you as a cidery owner or cidermaker will have to overcome as a new start-up facility.

Two of Chris Denkers’ biggest potholes at the start for Coyote Hole Ciderworks was the ability to get distribution of the cider and bringing people into the tasting room during the off-season.

“We are located in a high traffic area (Lake Anna, Virginia — northwest of Richmond) where people come for summer vacations so we are extremely busy during the summer months but not during the winter months,” Denkers explained. “We quickly learned that we have to do unique things to bring people into our tasting room as well as the Lake Anna area when they normally wouldn’t.”

Coyote Hole applied for its permitting in the height of applications with the TTB, and it took over six months to get. Denkers said they knew they would have to be patient but they also wanted to find a way to get its ciders out as soon as possible. So, to start, Coyote Hole partnered up with a local winery that allowed them to start making ciders in their facility prior to getting the state and federal licenses which gave Coyote Hole a running head start on the business and cider making.

Denker added that big wholesalers in the area are not taking on new ciders so Coyote Hole has had to work harder than it thought it would need to get its ciders out to retailers.

“Hiring the right people who have experience is key as they know what it takes to get into retailers,” Denker said. “The work is hard, but as more retailers bring in your product, the more you get noticed by both other retailers but also customers who become interested in your products, which leads to more tasting rooms sales.”

​Denkers added that marketing​ the cidery before opening really helped​.

​”​We marketed our cidery a lot prior to opening which gave us a great following before we even opened​,” he said​. ​”​Creating buzz for your business before you open ​can ​create a market before you even open.​”​

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