Cider Corner Q&A: Coronavirus Response From Pennings Farm Cidery

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. This is a bit of a takeaway from the normal Q&As, instead dealing with the impact the COVID-19 virus on the cider industry.

SJ Pennings, co-owner, Pennings Farm Cidery — Warwick, New York

BREWER: How are you currently able to sell your brands, either on- or off-premise? How are you adjusting staff at this time?
PENNINGS: We are able to sell in growlers to-go, anything pre-packaged to-go including our Pennings brand 6-packs of beer and Pennings Vodka. We began by taking orders through phone, email, Instagram, Facebook and through an online order form on our website. We have now transitioned to a drive-thru operation where customers choose and purchase product from their vehicle…all onsite at Pennings Farm Cidery, open 3-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday. Hours and offerings will likely expand as needed.

BREWER: What sort of policies have you enacted to continue to serve to-go from your tasting room?
PENNINGS: We have taken a preventative measures policy. Prevention is the best cure. We are all wearing masks and latex gloves, and we sanitize/clean all surfaces between all transactions. We are also requesting that drive-thru customers wear masks.

BREWER: What are you doing with cider you have in tanks right now? How are you adjusting your schedule for production in the near future and beyond?
PENNINGS: We are continuing to press cider as we’ve been all winter. There are only three of us in production, we do our best to limit direct interaction and also again, clean and sanitize all surfaces, similar to any day in the cider production room. Depending on how long this goes on, the thing that may hold us up is money. We can borrow more money to keep the business rolling, but borrowing only digs a deeper hole.

BREWER: Have you started to formulate a plan to make use of your equipment or staff in others ways to keep your company operating in some function?
PENNINGS: Many of our full-time staff have taken on a sort of transformed roll for the situation we are in. Everyone is stepping up to the plate so far. We can stay stronger as a team. As for an alternative use for the equipment? We know that a local distillery and winery is making hand sanitizer to help supply wherever it’s needed… I mentioned we could do the fermenting end of the process, but they are going to hold off, as they believe the larger scale producers will be called on by the government when they really need sanitizer, if they even do. I have quite a few apples left to press though, and plenty of fermented cider at this point with the given situation. Alternative use for the apples may be canning, making sauce, making pies and freezing them, but ultimately they will probably get pressed to be fermented.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.