​Cider Corner: Ups and Downs Entering 2019​

​Planning to achieve a certain goal is certainly attainable, but having that goal come to fruition can sometimes prove troublesome for any cidery.

Swift Cider‘s goal in 2018 was to double production capacity to keep up with demand. Unfortunately, after doing some due diligence with an architect, Aidan Currie found out the current building would not meet the local code requirements without prohibitively expensive renovations.

“For most of the year we’ve been struggling to find a new building lease that meets all the city and state requirements for operating a winery,” he said. “In a competitive commercial rental market, it took over six month to find the right place with enough space and adequate utilities.

“It’s taken an additional six months to navigate the building permit process and we are still in midst of renovations.”

Currie said little details, like having code-compliant sewer drains and a containment berm around floor drains have lead Swift down a few expensive rabbit holes.

“As the extra costs have stacked up, we’ve had to increase budgets and find additional capital, which has further delayed the process,” he said.

Pennings Farm Cidery ​was able to ​install​​ new tanks​,​ which happened in late 2018​. It also was able to add beer to their menu. Already growing hops on the farm, the cidery now collaborates with ​​local breweries to contract brew cans of both an IPA and IPL.​

​”We have had a goal to increase winter private and semi-private events, but this is put on hold for another goal that we’ve had​,” the cidery explained​. ​”​We’re presently renovating available space to an on-site kitchen to accommodate in-house catering.​”​

In order to increase production capacity​ at Swift​, ​it needed bigger tanks, and ​Currie said they were delighted to find some used tanks from a brewery in Canada.

​”​However, I just got the customs bill and thanks to this trade war with China, I’m paying about $10,000​ more for these tanks than I would have a year ago​,” he said​. ​”​While I get the need to level the playing field, this is a major cost increase for a small business.

​”​It would be wonderful to think that this will result in people like me ordering domestic tanks made with domestic steel, but the reality is that imports are still significantly cheaper. The increased demand on domestic producers seems to be increasing lead times as well, which adds a significant time cost to acquiring additional capacity to grow​.”​

Photos courtesy Laura Neff

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.