Cider Corner: Tips on Growing Your Market

It may depend on the area, the consumer base or the voice you give your brand, but cider is a growing craft beverage for both retail and on-premise, and cideries across the country have radiated hope with both faith and good business sense.

Yet quality is still the priority.

“I think that for us to continue to grow, we have to continually make high-quality ciders,” said Kekionga Cider‘s Tyler Butch. “Product is everything. We have to keep in tune with our customer base and make sure we are making what our customers like, not just what we like.

“The market is ever evolving; we just need to keep up.”

Jefferson County Ciderworks is in the process of creating its market share not by competing with other beverages but instead complementing consumers with its portfolio.

“The category is in a growth cycle, and we are helping drive that,” explained Jeff Co.’s Katie Greenfield. “We’re providing a product and a message that doesn’t ask people to choose between cider, wine, and beer but rather a product that’s an option, whether it’s 1:1, 1:4, 1:8. Everyone is a drinker for us.”

Alpenfire‘s Philippe Bishop believes there are three things that the industry needs to make it to the next level: A proper cider language, honesty, and transparency.

“We have started the discussions about language, but as soon as the terminology gets written down it is bastardized or at minimum used falsely for promotion,” he lamented. “At Alpenfire we have done our best to use terminology that suits our style of cider making. We have been very open and honest about all of our apples [and] whether we bought or grew them if we pressed them or had a mobile juicer do it.

“I think if the public knew what went into cider making they might be a little turned off from it, and better to have that discussion now and change where we need to than further down the road and risk another industry collapse.”

Greenfield agreed and said as an industry cider makers need to work together on messaging.

“What is sweet? What is semi-dry? And [we] make huge efforts to get in front of people. Don’t make them buy it on the shelf for the first time to discover it didn’t read the way they thought it would, [or] they won’t come back to our category.

“Get in front of them with samples, tap lines and more. Work with your stores to sell singles not just packs.”

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