Cider Corner: Tips for Smart Online Equipment Shopping

Some cider makers swear by online auctions and classifieds to help them find used equipment to save money.

Winchester Ciderworks in Winchester, Virginia has had success finding used equipment to make its English-style Dry Hard Ciders, said co-owner and Cider Maker Stephen Schuurman, who said certain corners of the Internet had proven to be valuable resources.

“We look for most of our used equipment (and some new) on the classifieds at There is everything from kegs to canning lines and many categories which will suit the needs of everyone,” Schuurman said. “We also buy used equipment through online brewery auctions and Loeb auctions are two very good platforms to use. Sadly, there are a lot of alcoholic beverage companies in financial difficulty and there are several companies who need to sell equipment through these auction houses.”

Schuurman said the classifieds had been a good resource for picking up basic items like used kegs, noting that Winchester Ciderworks had purchased more than 500 of them from online sellers that have had no problems. He urged buyers to exercise caution when considering larger, more complicated items such as canning lines.

“There are several for sale used and although some of them are priced very attractively, I would be cautious spending so much money on something you haven’t actually seen in person and, in most cases, have no warranty,” Schuurman said. 

But many companies auctioning off equipment are very approachable and helpful, he said. While some online sellers may be slow to reply, you can generally get a quicker response by finding out who created the ad and emailing them directly.

“We recently bought a 1000-gallon Foeder from an auction on and were able to inspect it as the brewery was relatively close by,” Schuurman said. “We usually get as many photos as possible or video of the equipment we are interested in and ask as many relevant questions as possible that we can think of. Especially PM records when it comes to mechanical equipment.”

Before buying used equipment, it’s a good idea to see whether it’s difficult to get service or spare parts. 

“If it is too difficult or costly, we simply won’t buy it regardless of how good the deal looks,” he said. “We have been burned in the distant past and had some real difficulties finding spare parts. Having a piece of equipment you cannot use because of poor foresight is incredibly frustrating.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *