Cider Corner: Future Production Strategies During Pandemic

While many cideries are focusing on new strategies to get product out the door with no tasting rooms open during the COVID-19 global pandemic, paying attention to future sales of cider currently in production can become a concern as well.

“We are moving forward with production until we are out of space or money,” said Jerry Thornton, owner of Bryant’s Cider in Roseland, Virginia. “It’s important to remember the downstream providers still need to operate also. If we shut down entirely it impacts the entire supply chain.”

Winchester Ciderworks‘ Stephen Schuurman noted that the cider in the tanks is not a huge concern at the moment.

“We press our apples throughout the year so I keep a rolling stock at all times,” he said. “The only issue we would have would be sitting on old juice which is past its prime.

“However, we have a 4.200-gallon canning run coming up soon so that will take care of the oldest juice we have which has been aged currently for eight months.”

Schuurman did say he does notice the effect on cideries that Winchester presses juice for.

“As most have limited cash flow we have been asked if we can take credit cards and of course we are willing to help our customers any way we can,” he said.

Keeping the cider stable and adjusting for more cans is the plan for Wild State Cider since draft isn’t an option at the moment.

“[We’re] trying to think about small releases, but a lot of ‘wait and see,’ ” said the cidery’s Adam Ruhland.

Alpenfire was not going to be releasing much of its product for another couple months at a minimum so Phillipe Bishop said they will continue to rack and nurse it along until it’s ready to be blended.

The cidery’s crew has been shifted around a bit, spending a little more time in the orchard.

“We do have tons of work to do out there just don’t have the income to continue the work,” he said. “It is a scary time.”

Bishop was recently elected onto the board of directors of the American Cider Association and shared some insights from the national level.

“The ACA is fighting for relief alongside the wine and beer associations, this collaborative voice will help bring relief, that makes sense for all our industries,” he said. “If you’re a cidery reading this, I encourage you to join the association. If you feel right now is not the best time, please follow the association’s social media platforms (@pickcider) and read our blog. We have put together some resources for all of us in the cider world that will hopefully help make it through this pandemic.”

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