Cider Corner: How Northwood Cider Company Ramped Up in Short Order

Northwood Cider Company has only been open since 2022, but the Cincinnati-area cidery is already making moves.

The venture began as taproom only, but co-owner Darrin Wilson said canning and distribution had always been the plan for the cidery, which as of mid-April was canning six of its ciders.

Customer feedback and demand led it to speed up its timeline soon after opening its doors.

READ MORE: Northwood Cider Company Launches Their First Canned Ciders

“When we were planning the cidery, we knew we wanted to can our product and go into distribution — we gave ourselves a few months after opening the taproom to get our feet under us,” Wilson said. “While we were selling growlers of our cider out of the taproom, every week we were getting guests asking if/when we would have cans available, and that was what triggered us to move up our plan for canning.” 

The Cincinnati market is far from crowded for cider, but Wilson said being the only dedicated cidery for the region had its pros and cons.

“On the positive side, the market isn’t too crowded and that allows us to have the space to establish our brand,” Wilson said. “On the flip side, there is a lot more education that has to go on with both consumers and distributors, mostly about the diversity and variety of flavor profiles cider can have.”

Prior to canning, Wilson said questions Northwood had to answer included which ciders to first put into cans and what it wanted to signal as its core lineup. Their first run of cans include some varieties that we started with in the taproom, but most were new releases.

“When we consider what to put into cans, we think about several things. First, if this is something we’ve already been offering in the taproom, what was the response from guests? At the end of the day, we are making the cider for them,” Wilson explained. “Second, what are those broader trends we are seeing in the quarterly sales data provided to us by the American Cider Association as part of our membership? Data is so important, and we try to make data-driven decisions. Third, if we made a test batch of the product, how did it turn out and is it scalable? We are always playing with new flavors and processes, but sometimes they don’t turn out as we hoped or we don’t have the ability to scale it up to do a canning run of it.”

Wilson said that as they receive feedback from retail partners and distributors, they will make changes if needed. 

“The most important thing we or any producer can do is use feedback and data to always re-evaluate the products you’re offering,” Wilson said. “As consumers’ tastes evolve, so do we.”

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