Cider Corner: The Reason Continued Education Matters for Your Production Team

Photo courtesy Noble Cider

There is always more to learn. Continued education is paramount for the success of any cidery’s production team. Staying abreast of the latest techniques, technologies, and trends is crucial to maintaining product quality, improving efficiency, and fostering innovation. Continuous learning cultivates a culture of excellence and fosters a sense of pride and ownership among team members, ultimately driving the cidery toward greater success and sustainability in a competitive market. But it all lies in management as well to foster this seeking of knowledge.

“We are extremely keen that everyone on the team is excited about cider in general and how to improve what we do,” said Noble Cider’s team via an email to Brewer Mag. “We often taste products together and have excited discussions about how to improve what we do.

Noble Cider is a small family-based company, with several of the young people working with the Asheville company who loved the product so much that they moved to the North Carolina spot especially to work with the cidery. 

“Our team loves what we do and naturally pass skills on to each other without too many formal pieces of training,” they said. “Of course, we have safety training sessions and SOP for core areas of production but in general training happens naturally as we work together.”

Highpoint Cider’s Andrew Perez said that his management philosophy is twofold. 

“If or when people transition out of my organization, I don’t want them to make a lateral step somewhere, I want that to be a step up in their next role,” he said about helping employees gain new knowledge to better that cidermaking community. “And aside from some general social contracts about how a business works, I make the role fit the individual versus making the individual fit the role.” 

Perez said that is he incredibly fortunate for the team that he has and would be sad to see them go, but continued education and supporting your staff has to be a philosophical decision ingrained in the organization. 

“We build that in from Day 1,” he explained. “Whether you’re the controller, the taproom manager, or the delivery driver. How can we set individuals up for success in that role, and what are the next tier of skills and growth areas we need to develop to transition into a different role or to make them more effective in the current role. 

“That is a deeply personal and individualized process.” 

The Old Mine likes to educate staff by having them attend presentations hosted by the Erie, Colorado’s brewer as well as continuous communication between the leadership team and other team members, with meetings or even informational texts.

“We feel that continued education is important because the greater understanding we can have around our products, the more able we are to promote ourselves and properly communicate with guests,” Hope Ruffner of The Old Mine said. “Anyone drinking our cider has the right to know exactly what they are consuming and how it was made — not only because of allergy and health concerns but also for general peace of mind. 

“We desire a customer base that feels safe and confident consuming our products and investing time in our space.” 

Perez said his goal is to balance work performance and continued growth such that any Highpoint Cider employees gain the skills to move on, “and I’m betting that they won’t want to,” he added. “When that transition inevitably happens, that’s awesome. I don’t have a different way to view that. I care more about that individual and their success as a person, than I care about that specific role.

“If they were able to do awesome work during their time here, make improvements, etc. and we get to benefit from that for two years, great it was an awesome two years. I’m glad they were also able to benefit from their time here, and the process begins anew. Good talent, good investment in, good talent and good investment out.”

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