Cider Corner: What to do With Seasonal Product Changes

What your cidery does with a seasonal release may come down to your packaging.

If your cidery is releasing seasonal brands in cans and your distributor is still holding on to the product before the seasonals’ time ends and the next is coming out, you may be forced to buy back that product.

In fact, Santa Cruz Cider‘s Nicole Todd said that they tend to only release fruited products in-house to control their cans better and not have an old product get into a consumer’s hands.

“We say drink fresh on the cans, whereas bottles and kegs are meant to age,” she said at the 2022 CiderCon in a session on cider packaging.

READ MORE: Cider Corner: Tracking Freshness for Your Packaged Product

For Seattle Cider, Head Cidermaker Scott Katsma shared that if the distributor is a little long in making a seasonal change, the cidery will bring it back.

“We just want to make sure that we’re timing those transitions with our distributors correctly so that things are on the shelf when we want them to be,” he said. “But that’s mostly just a function of managing relationships with our retail partners as well and making sure what we said is going to be on the shelf is on the shelf.”

Because cans have a shorter shelf life, some cideries could opt to stay in bottles for seasonals instead. For Seattle Cider, Katsma said they can pull that seasonal back, house it for a year if it’s a bottled product and is aging correctly and be back with a distributor the following year.

“You will buy back any product that people purchase and they’re not happy with,” he said. “It really all depends on the cider.”

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