Cider Corner: 3 Ways Winning Awards and Attending Ceremonies Can be Helpful

When your cider places high at a prestigious competition, it creates a marketing opportunity you don’t want to pass up.

Seattle Cider Company was named “Large Cidery of the Year” for the second straight year at the annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, and Lead Cidermaker Jacob Peterson said such awards — and attending the ceremonies — are not something the cidery takes lightly.

Awards Build Brand Recognition

“Winning awards certainly helps attract consumers and build brand recognition,” Peterson said. “Awards also give credence to the hard work our team puts in day to day. We know we love our products. We know we love what we do every day. But there’s something extra special about having the hardware to prove it.”  

Competitions Elevate Beverage Alcohol Categories

Peterson said having established competitions like GLINTCAP helps elevate the cider category as a whole. 

“Cider as a category still has a huge opportunity to educate consumers and get folks excited about what we are doing,” Peterson said. “The craft, the art and the science of cider are exciting and complex, but it is still a very approachable beverage for folks just learning about it and trying it for the first time.

“Seattle Cider Company wants to be a household name. We also want to be a brand name that folks associate with quality. We’ve already added the awards to our website. We also love to share our wins on our social channels. I think we have some opportunities to share our wins in a bigger way.”

Feedback and Information Sharing

The awards you win can also let you know what you think you’re doing well is actually working. For example, Seattle Cider Company’s McIntosh SV won first place out of 100 entries in the Modern Dry Category.

“Seattle Cider’s tendency to make dry ciders is one of the things that originally set us apart from other cideries, so it was not a surprise that two of our Best in Class wins came from the Modern Dry category,” Peterson said. “Additionally, our ability to experiment with specific varieties of apples and yeast has been a large part of our success. We treat our cidermaking process similar to wine and we allow the apples to express and speak for themselves; we let the apples reach their potential.”

There’s an added benefit to attending awards ceremonies: information sharing that can be very helpful.

“Much like in the beer world, cider industry folks are very collaborative,” Peterson said. “ We’re all spending time together during judging and stewarding, we’re dining together and sharing bottles of something special we packed in our luggage. We’re all talking about cider.”

Sometimes conversations become something more strategic, like coming up with a session to pitch for CiderCon. But more often the conversations are very organic and become a way to expand your industry circle, Peterson said. 

“The benefit of having a few more folks to call upon to talk shop is immeasurable,” he noted. “Personally, I think the best strategy to get the most out of attending events like GLINTCAP is to simply share a cider with the other folks there. Something good always comes of it.”

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