Cider Corner: How Tasting Room Standards Have Adapted

Bull City Ciderworks began about a month ago delivering draft to its distributors to fulfill grocery shelves, but that was the Durham, North Carolina cidery’s only method of mass distribution.

So connecting to consumers online by offering pickup at curbside and home delivery in areas near its taprooms has been a sustaining force even though staff hours are significantly reduced to only essential needs.

Working just out of the taproom, for the most part, meant making it safe for consumers along with educating them of procedures

“We’ve added signage at the locations and have added a lot of information on our site and social media outlets about how to reach us and place orders,” explained co-owner John Clowney. “In terms of customer safety, we have the standard PPE available (gloves, masks) for our deliverers and workers, and continued sanitation of our finished packaged products before they go to the consumer.”

With on-premises closures, 2 Towns Ciderhouse also had to close its on-site consumption. It remains open for package products to-go with limited numbers of customers allowed in the building at a time and distancing measures inside the taproom. It has guidelines to encourage consumers to order ahead with pickup options.

“We added online purchase options on our website with curbside pickup or to your door delivery as well as the ability to phone in and text orders for pickup,” explained the Corvallis, Oregon cidery spokeswoman, Madison Shirley. “Our direct delivery program services greater Corvallis daily with weekly delivery in Eugene, Salem, and Portland.

“Additionally we’ve partnered with some other local businesses to expand our delivery options of products to ensure more efficient logistics.”

Ron Sansone of Spoke + Spy Ciderworks chose to stay closed for personal health reasons, so the cidery is living on keg sales to breweries that are doing cider growlers to-go.

In March, the Middletown, Connecticut facility was not refilling growlers.

“We were including new empty growlers for free with the purchase of a fill, we took our chairs out of the tasting room and switched to plastic disposable cups to minimize passing potential germs around,” Sansone said. “The next weekend we decided to not open until things were less unknown, we are hoping things take a turn for the better soon.”

Shirley said that 2 Towns continues to be impressed with how its team, the local community, and the country at large are coming together to make things happen.

“The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) was processing same-day delivery permits for alcohol producers in one day so that suppliers could keep their doors open,” she said. “Our retailers are working with us to continue to keep products on the shelf despite logistical issues and our wholesalers are helping us to find solutions to how to get to a changing market.

“We all need small successes amid the current conditions and are extremely thankful for all the little helps that so many are willing to contribute. While we wouldn’t have chosen the conditions we’re all facing, we’re encouraged to see how the community has come together to support one another.”

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