Cider Corner: Words of Wisdom for Up-And-Coming Owners

Since opening Lost Boy Cidery, founder Tristan Wright admits that his perspective has broadened, emphasizing the importance of adaptability, customer engagement, and continuous innovation.

As more cideries come online in 2024, Wright and many other veteran owners shared insights that have helped their brands to thrive.

If you are just opening or about to open, Wild State’s Adam Ruhlan said not to work on too much all at once.

“Keep it simple, focus on a few things, and don’t grow just for the sake of growing,” he said. “Find what works (and) put resources there.”

Jeremiah Tracy, the Production Manager for Flat Rock Cider said innovation is key.

“Drinkers continue to look for exciting, intriguing new beverages, and having a diverse selection is pivotal to keep customers returning to our brand,” Tracy said. “Diversify your offerings with ciders, cysers, meads, unique ingredients, and novel ideas. Keep customers engaged and looking forward to what you will release next.

“This has always been our philosophy, but it seems more important than ever in an increasingly crowded marketplace.”

READ MORE: Cider Corner: Most Read Cider Stories of 2023

Wright shared that a new cidery should focus on quality and community engagement while creating a vision of what your cidery should be and staying true to it.

“In a competitive market, the quality of your product is paramount,” Wright said. “Building a loyal customer base starts with strong community engagement.

“While it’s important to adapt and evolve, never lose sight of what makes your cidery unique.”

Farmhouse cider brands need to continue to educate the masses on the category and its benefits, added Stone Circle’s Dan Lawrence.

“Finding the right balance between wholesale and direct-to-customer sales has also been a big part of trying to find a winning formula for us,” he said.

For Albemarle Ciderworks, making sure to work locally can help foster community said Guy Wallis.

“We have strived to support our local growers and orchards,” they said. “Without them, we would not have as thriving of an industry as we do.”

Phhoto courtesy Albemarle Ciderworks

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