Cider Corner: 3 Ideas to Make Your Own to Boost Cider Tourism

Patti Wilcox explained it like this: when it comes to boosting your cidery’s tourism strategy, think like a chef.

“A chef doesn’t invent ingredients, a chef uses those ingredients to create new recipes,” she told a group at the 2022 CiderCon this year. “I want you to think as I’m talking about what recipe you could create.”

Sharing different ideas that wineries across the world have done to make an impact in their winery tourism, Wilcox, co-founder of New York’s Awestruck Ciders, explained that cideries can borrow these ideas and make them into their own and on their own scale to help attract interest in your own cidery.

Out-of-box events

Using the example of the Madeira Festival of Wine, Embroidery, and Handicrafts, Wilcox showed that expanding a typical wine fest could be a boon to your community.

“It engages that type of multi-industry experience, and it pulls in visitors from a much broader spectrum than just wine,” she said. “A lot of people are saying that’s crazy. I don’t want to see embroidery at a wine festival. But in fact, it’s been proven to be a driver to interact with any sort of local vendor or producer or any type of sensory experience. The embroidery sensory is different. It’s colorful, and this is a major driver for gastronomic and culinary tourism.”

Is there something in your locality that isn’t being celebrated? How can your cidery find a way to incorporate local vendors in a new way?

Be Instagramable

The Chapel of Barolo in Italy was an example of how a coat of paint could bring in onlookers. Taking a nearly 100-year-old chapel, a small Italian winery fixed up the place instead of tearing it down and letting an artist have fun with the colors.

“Over the course of years, they noticed that people were coming just to check out this church,” Wilcox explained. “They were driving from hours away. And once they came to see the church, they were looking for food, they were looking for drinks, they wanted to taste wine. And so over the years, it’s led the winery to develop into one of Italy’s premier wine tourism destinations.

“When Frank Gehry designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, it completely transformed the city. And I just love this example because any of us can put a coat of paint on a falling down building and have the same effect as Frank Gehry.”

What do you have that could become a focal point in your cidery or near your cidery that could draw a crowd? How irreverent can you be?

Explore Partnerships in New Ways

Wilcox shared how a Japanese-owned winery in France brought in a Japanese chef to cater to its clients. But instead of just using the chef for that one event, they expounded on that by creating a public event for people to learn how to make Japanese food from the chef as well.

“​You ​have all heard of cooking classes for tourism​​. This is not new. But what is special about it is Japanese food in Bordeaux. It’s unheard of. It’s really special. It’s really unique. It’s engaging to locals and visitors.

​”​Anyone who has a unique niche desire for Japanese food. So taking a standard offering like a cooking class and adapting it to a unique characteristic of your cidery makes you stand out so much from the pack.”​

A second example she touched on was how a spa and winery owned by the same company have been able to work with each other by sharing spa products with winery consumers while the spa experience includes the winery.

“And while maybe some … or none … of us can open a multi-million dollar spot next to our cidery, it doesn’t have to go that far, to still bring in these creative ideas,” she said. “To still look for a partnership with an allied business [can be a key].”

Wilcox said that it has been shown that traditional tour and tasting visits do not help encourage spending, in fact, it may have a negative impact on it, so find what does help your brand and find that right collaboration.

Photo courtesy Awestruck Ciders

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