Cider Corner: Continuing Ed is for Smaller Cideries Too

Continuing education is something businesses of all sizes find beneficial in the cidermaking world, including small cideries with skeleton crews.

To say Two Story Chimney Ciderworks in Gaithersburg, Maryland fits that description is an understatement. Owner Tommy Evans said his cidermaking team consists of himself and his manager and said they both believe there’s a need to continue improving their process.

The cidery opened in 2019, three years after Evans bought the property, moved into a farmhouse on the land, and began converting the farm into an apple orchard.

“My cidermaking team is my manager and myself,” Evans said. “We have been working together for four years now and have things down perfectly for the size we are on the production side. We need to improve on our knowledge and capabilities for orchard management.”

A diverse knowledge base is a necessity at a business like Two Story Chimney Ciderworks, where the sales staff (which, again, consists of Evans and his manager) has a long list of responsibilities.

“Our sales reps are responsible for checking the stock of cider at our accounts, delivering cider, and taking payment,” Evans said. “We currently aren’t adding new accounts but will be soon, at that time our sales reps will be responsible for finding those accounts and building relationships. We do have a list of businesses that want to stock our cider when we are ready.”

Graft Cider Cellar Tech Caitlin Burton told Brewer that large conferences like CiderCon are great opportunities for continuing education.

Burton said she found the environment at CiderCon welcoming and met new contacts who may potentially help her in the future.

“Everyone here is trying to help each other grow,” Burton said. “It’s pretty cool and it’s kind of unique. And it’s great to find people who can be resources — people whom I can reach out to down the line who have experience.”

Inspiration can come from different channels and sources, and Evans is open to all of it, he said. Employees are urged to go learn skills that they can use to help make the company better.

“We are constantly seeking new ciders and new ideas to bring our cider to the next level and improve the health and production of our orchards,” he noted. “Any workshops or seminars that are relevant to our needs or could strengthen our weak areas are offered to any staff that wants to participate.

“My manager and myself keep an eye out for opportunities and let the staff know when they arise.”

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