Cider Corner: 3 Ways to Adjust Low Weeknight Cash Flow

It may not have been pretty, but many smaller cideries across the country have been able to limp by in revenue because of a strong consumer base that supported its local scene during the height of pandemic concerns.

As those fans saw more free time away from homes, supporting the local business has become more secondary, causing sales to tank.

For San Diego’s Poochie’s Hooch Urban Cidery, Mary Paulson said that current September sales figures in 2021 are worse than what the same month in 2020 netted. That has forced adjustments to operating schedules and planning future events and sales.

Similar adjustments are being made for Colorado’s Fenceline Cider. Co-founder Sam Perry told Brewer that right now the cidery is hosting bingo on Tuesday nights, but once the snow begins to fall, Mondays and Tuesdays will be closed to the public.

Finding ways to get people in the door can be problematic and not being able to rely on previous sales info before the pandemic to plan is still worrisome.

READ MORE: The Connection You Can Make on ‘Low Cash Flow’ Nights

Specialty Nights

Along with bingo, Fenceline has worked with local food trucks to offer cuisine options to pair with their ciders almost every night. Paulson said she has foregone most events during the week to focus on making events on the weekends more successful.

“Events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are what pays the rent,” she said. “Weekends I open early and close early.

“People are not coming out at night unless they are within walking distance.”

Increase Packaging or Distro?

For distribution, yes. But to-go sales have waned. That doesn’t mean a potential lockdown/shutdown could help bring those sales back.

Unfortunately, Paulson said, distributors are on a very limited basis themselves, which means she personally needs to find the time to go door-to-door to specific bars and restaurants and sell kegs of cider.

“It’s tough,” she said. “Not impossible, but very tough to be on your own because you had to let go of your employees, or you can’t afford to hire someone to work the tasting room or go knock on doors.”

Adjust Hiring/Scheduling

Sometimes, the best way to save money is to not be open. Closing on those early days may help cut overhead costs. That may also mean the inability to hire and if you are a smaller cidery, like Poochie’s Hooch, Paulson said she only brings in an extra employee other than herself if an event is planned.

“So I take my vitamins and work the events by myself,” she said. “Yes, it is exhausting, which is why I now look forward to being closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so I can rest.”

Photo courtesy Fenceline Cider

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