Cider Corner: Getting Off the Ground

​The plan and the ​execution of opening a cidery can be completely different.

“Sadly, goals change,” admitted Matthew Galiani of Naughty Penguin Cider. “I have had so many different goals that were edited in some way or form that I have lost track.

“I continue to attempt to get X or Y going during the months just to try stick with them or update them as I go. … It has been a ever changing learning experience.”

Mary Paulson, the owner and lead cidermaker for Poochie’s Hooch Urban Cidery said any goal is attainable, as long as you don’t quit.

“It has taken me two years, so far, to be an operational urban cidery,” she explained. The cidery in San Diego is planning a soft open this Sunday.

The original goal was to open a small urban cidery where people could come in to the tasting room to drink her hard ciders while she could be a ‘Chatty Kathy.’ Paulson said she expects 20 percent of gross profit would go to a local dog rescue organization to help in medical costs for senior fosters and other emergencies.

“There were a few side trails that took me off track, but in the end, it looks like I’m still on the same path towards the original goal,” she said.

Since opening, Galiani said one thing he learned during the opening process was he would have gone into business with more than just himself.

“The responsibilities are all mine to start and until I can spread them [out], it makes it very difficult to get everything I want done every day,” he noted.

Paulson said she had planned for a May 1  opening, but the City Permitting Department (DSD) had other plans and she didn’t get build out permits for Poochie’s until June 15. The sales plan is for the first year to have 50 percent local distribution and 50 percent tasting room.

“I’m just a small-batch cidery,” Paulson said. “My intentions have always been to produce small batches of a wide variety of flavors.”

Distribution will be one main flavor, but people can come to the tasting room to try 28 flavors from the taps.

​”​I stayed pretty close to the original plans​,” she told Brewer​.​”​ When you have a vision, nothing else makes sense or feels right. So when something pertaining with the city came up, that would drive me crazy. Luckily, building the cidery is about a ​cause for me. It’s really all about Poochie. I am doing all of this in her name. So if the city, or someone, wanted to pull me in a certain direction, then I would check myself, ask if it helps or hurts the cause and make decisions from there.

​”I honestly don’t think I could have done anything differently. I did my research. I spoke to a lot of brewery owners. I used the City’s Open Counter resource and had advisors help me through the process. If it were anything, I would say get more than enough funding to start out. You don’t need it all at once. But do your research, have a very specific business plan, and then stick to the plan and stay within your means. You can always add more after you are ​operational and have an income coming in.”​

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