Cider Corner: 3 Ways To Boost Your Brand’s Success

Branching out from your comfort zone is a necessary evil when you’re trying to grow.

Cideries have shared with Brewer Magazine multiple avenues they’ve taken to boost sales, gain fans and expand their reach.

If you’re ready to take the next step, here are a few tips from Cideries you might want to try if you’re not doing them already.

Capturing Different Markets

High Limb Cider in Plymouth, Massachusetts grew its brand by putting itself in front of people who were on the fence about cider.

High Limb said a common complaint it heard from non-cider drinkers was that cider was too sweet for them. Putting the message out there that they experiment with unique flavors and styles is part of their marketing strategy.

The cidery reworked its recipes in 2020 and developed a plan for the new releases that followed, VP of Marketing Mary Kate Byrne told Brewer.

“We had this note in mind: How can we develop authentic ciders that true cider lovers will recognize and love, while also showing the naysayers that cider doesn’t have to be the overly sweet drink they thought they knew,” Byrne said.

That philosophy, she said, came to life with an experimental approach to new product releases.

Trying a different tactic, Stem Cider tailored its message to health-and-wellness-driven consumers, touting its low ABV and nutritional aspects.

”​We’re doing this via education with distributor partners and retail accounts primarily​,” said COO Dave Duffy, who noted the company also planned to communicate directly with consumers. 

Moving Merchandise

Selling merchandise can help you improve your bottom line.

While merchandise doesn’t make a huge difference for every cidery, Wild State co-founder Adam Ruhland told Brewer that finding what sells well and having it available both online and in the tasting room had worked for his cidery.

​Wild State told Brewer in 2022 that it sells $100,000 in merchandise annually, and Ruhland shared ideas for a few great items that he said account for 80% of the sales.

Ruhland advised cidery owners to invest in a designer to help make a few quality shirts, long sleeves, and sweatshirts, and those items will carry your sales.

”We find ordering 100-200 of any item is the best balance of price and inventory,” he said.

Keep merchandise simple, he said.

”Fun stuff like socks and custom beanies or bike jerseys are cool, but require more effort to produce and often come at a high price point,” he warned.

In some cases, success selling merchandise has been helped along by online customers.

“Having an online store has helped us move more merchandise through social media and email campaigns,” Sociable Cider Werks Marketing Director Ciara Metzger said.

Reaching Out To New Venues

Some cideries have found a boost by looking for consumers at venues that fit your demographic.

Bryant’s Cider owner Jerry Thornton said that he relies on everyone on staff to help create these new avenues to new venues — such as getting an axe-throwing facility to sell cider on the premises.

“So far (ideas like this) have been primarily presented by the staff and places they visit,” he told Brewer. “The demo we target generally prefers to visit some venues or activities over others.”

Philadelphia’s Original 13 Ciderworks said it was exploring places like nail salons to get placement.

“I love getting my nails done and the pre-COVID I loved having a glass of wine while I was getting a mani/pedi,” said assistant GM Petra Manchina. “I’d love to have a cider in the salon.”

Manchina pointed out that it’s always important to reach a wider and new consumer base.

”Increased exposure will lead to increased sales and therefore an increase in profits, which will lead to my boss thinking I’m doing my job correctly,” she joked.

2 Towns Ciderhouse has served samples at farmers’ markets, home improvement shows, comic cons, and more.

“Beyond that, we also look for opportunities for folks to enjoy our cider wherever they are already having fun and enjoying themselves; marathons, festivals, local sports,” said​ Marketing Director Scott Bugni​. “Wherever we can enhance and participate in that enjoyment with them, we see it as a great opportunity to create a meaningful connection with the brand that they hopefully remember, maybe even when making their next purchase decision.”

Swilled Dog ​recently shared that it is getting some play and consideration in theme parks and stadiums said the cidery’s Kim Kirk.

“These options can expose our brand to a large crowd in a short amount of time,” she said. “Big events are also great opportunities for fans to share their experiences with your brand on social media, which expands our visibility and reach.”

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