Cider Corner Q&A: Adam Ruhland, Wild State Cider

This is a part of a monthly series of Q&As with members of the cider community from across the U.S. Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from decision makers in the cider industry to help you get to know each other better and learn more to better develop your own brand.

Adam Ruhland​, co​-​owner​,​ Wild State Cider​ ​Duluth, Minnesota

​BREWER: ​How do you feel your job has had to adapt in the craft beverage market compared to a few years ago?
RUHLAND: ​We just opened in April 2019 but its clear things are changing across the alcohol industry, innovation and change are both still required to stand out and maintain relevance with consumers.

BREWER: ​Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
RUHLAND: ​Nick Gunn of Anthem and Wandering Aengus Cider really helped us start on the right foot in terms of building a long​-​lasting brand. He has been in the industry long enough to know where it makes sense to spend when starting out, and how to make a quality and safe product.

​BREWER: ​Can you share a success story that you are proud of in your job or maybe a story of how you learned from a situation that has altered your thoughts on how you do your job now?
RUHLAND: ​We’ve learned that you have to plan for the unexpected at all time. Equipment will break down, unforeseen events will happen and it’s important to save and be prepared ahead of time for this kind of thing as you grow.

​BREWER: ​Can you touch on something your cidery has added lately that’s unique or making your business more successful (it could be equipment, technology or people)?
RUHLAND: ​We’ve started building a dedicated tasting team to get our products in new customers hands on a weekly basis, there is no substitute for having someone try your cider and we believe this is key for growth.

​BREWER: ​If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the craft cider industry, what would it be?
RUHLAND: ​More education, it’s still the Wild West out there with cider as consumers are still new to cider and the different styles that exist. Educating your customers lifts your brand and the industry as a whole.

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