Cider Corner: How These 3 Cideries Raised Funds, Awareness for Social Change

Using cider to bring a sense of joy around a cause was the central focus that Autumn Stoscheck of Eve’s Cidery felt was needed when her cidery, along with Open Spaces and Redbyrd Orchard recently launched the Holiday Reparations Pack. So this wasn’t a simple, “buy the cider and a percentage of proceeds went to a cause” type of deal. It was much deeper and connected consumers to the cause with understanding and feeling more than a simple transaction.

“[We wanted to] help folks make the connection between normalizing small acts of reparations and real, direct actions that can address racial justice issues in our own industry,” she explained to Brewer. “We think that there is a huge potential for cideries, wineries, breweries, and distilleries to leverage the celebratory quality of their products for social change.”

Stoscheck added that there are a million ways to structure a project like this, each as unique as the folks involved.

The project that Eve’s Cidery was involved with included a package of three ciders — one from each Finger Lake cidery in New York along with limited-release prints and notecards with a value of $100 retail attached to it.

But instead of the cideries reaping the benefits and purchasing from the cideries, they were directed to directly donate to Quarter Acre for the People — a program that connects marginalized communities such as African and/or Indigenous ancestry as well as refugee families, to farming, homesteading, and farm business opportunities.

“The reason that we structured the event this way, with the participants going directly to QAP to make the donation, was because we wanted our participants to go through the act of making the reparations payment themselves,” Stoscheck said. “Most people find, despite any initial apprehension, the act of making a reparations payment to be a joyful, even cathartic, experience.

“Logistically, participants went to our BIPOC lead land access partner, made a donation for the value of the pack, emailed us the confirmation, and received a customer credit in a private cider club, through which the packs were shipped out. In this way, we still paid sales tax on the full package value to be in compliance with state law.”

Stoscheck said she was really surprised by the response they got to the idea and sold out of the initial 50 packs in less than a week,

“[We] scrambled to make up a package for an additional 10 people that ended up on our waiting list,” she said. “After that, we continued to take names to be added to an email list for further reparations packages.”

Because it was a collaboration between three cideries, they used all three email lists and three sets of social media accounts to market the project.

“It felt great to be able to leverage our social networks in this way,” Stoscheck said. “Not only did we generate over $5,000 for QAP, we also highlighted them and their work to thousands of folks who had never heard of them before.”

Additionally, they were able to partner with the New York Cider Association to both host and archive a video of the tasting so the event could continue to spread the word about QAP and reparations in the cider industry farther than just on one day.

Creating a Success

Stoscheck believes there are two critical elements to making such a type of event a success.

First, she said to take an inventory of what you have to offer.

“Money is an important part of reparations, but so is product, knowledge, and social capital,” she said. “Think about how you can create synergy with these assets to have a bigger impact.

Then, find a partner.

“Reparations are about repairing relationships, so the relationship is so important to making the act authentic,” she added. “What needs does your partner have and how can you support their work? Let them tell you, not the other way around. Reparations are about repairing harm done to Black and Indigenous people so make sure your partner is BIPOC-led and directly helping BIPOC people.”

Here are a few ideas for reparations projects that Stoscheck said beverage makers can do:

  • Create events, tastings, and more that celebrate and raise money for your partner.
  • Create a special bottling with a custom label highlighting your partner and give the proceeds of the sale to your partner.
  • Buy equipment, land, or supplies for your partner, or donate some that you already have.
  • Fund a scholarship fund for BIPOC to attend professional training in your industry.
  • Offer BIPOC aspiring business owners a mentorship program to get their business started.
  • Use your marketing assets to let the world know about your partner.
  • Help normalize the idea of reparations in our business models.

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