Cider Corner: Creating Engagement with Membership Clubs

Creating a membership club — be it as an exclusive product sales channel or a standard “mug club” in the tasting room — can be a financial boost and foster a sense of community with fans of your cidery’s brand.

Santa Cruz Cider has about 100 members in its club, explained co-founder Nicole Todd. The cidery has three releases a year for those members, and she said they always try to make new cider for each release.

“It is nice to have a little boost in sales these three times a year, we can plan a bigger purchase around it too,” she said. Membership starts on the day of sign-up, and customers can take the most recent release and continue until they cancel.

Being located in ​Pennsylvania, Original 13 Ciderworks has a lot of ​state ​restrictions on ​mug clubs.

​”​Due to state regulations there is not a lot we can do or offer with alcohol​-​only sale​s,” lamented Original 13’s Petra Manchina. Although the cidery has created an in-house rewards program through its POS​ that gives consumers points based on the total sales. Guests earn a point for every $1 spent, and after $100 they earn a $10 credit. The program is free and tracked through the system for ease of use for the cidery.

For Santa Cruz, a one-year commitment is asked at sign-up. There are two tiers with a three-bottle club or a six-bottle club starting at $100. Members get 15% off purchases as well.

“We currently just do an Excel spreadsheet and highlight folks as we charge them, and they pick up,” Todd said, adding that many of the members have become some of the cidery’s best regulars. “We use Square for charging. There is still a lot of one-on-one communication.”

READ MORE: Using Online Sales to Boost Marketing, Reach

Bryant’s Cider launched ​its club in 2020 and ​owner and Cidermaker Jerry Thornton said membership is still very new. ​The Virginia cidery decided to revamp the club to a tiered membership ranging from the entry-level ​sofar-unnamed mug club with a low fee and discounts, to the mid-level quarterly cider box pickup and discounts​ along with​ a top tier to add in exclusive events.

​”The feedback is that the tiers let consumers find what is best with their schedule and wallet​,” Thornton said​. ​”​Locals do better with an on-site focused club and tourists prefer the quarterly pickup.​”​

Bryant’s focuses on creating value for the customer and helping drive engagement with the brand.

“The more frequent visits outweigh the discounts given so everyone wins,” Thornton said.

Before the pandemic, Santa Cruz would have a club release party with food and samples of all the new ciders. For now, most members have picked up their ciders — which is best for costs, Todd noted — while a few have bottles shipped or delivered locally.

Photo courtesy Santa Cruz Cider

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.