This week we introduce a new column in which Lee Reeve, owner-operator of inCiderJapan, poses a single question to three cidermakers in an attempt to discover the similarities and differences between artists of the same craft. We begin with an issue that cidermakers – and nearly everyone else – have been forced to confront since early 2020.
What are the challenges you have faced, and the most important lessons you’ve learned, due to COVID-19?
Dave Carr, Owner / Cider and Mead Maker
Raging Cider & Mead Co. – San Marcos, Calif.
The most important lesson I learned as a cidermaker during COVID-19 has been to be flexible in your approach to sales. Prior to COVID-19 we were primarily tasting room–sales based. When COVID-19 hit, our tasting room sales obviously took a heavy blow. We had intended to expand our packaging in bottles on a larger scale in 2021 but pushed that forward a full year, as well as joining up with Vinoshipper, creating a cider club, adding a local distributor and eventually doing limited canning runs, as well. I feel that this kept us in business through the worst periods of the shutdown.
Katie Morgan and Charlie Davis, Co-Founders
Right Bee Cider – Chicago
2020 brought unique challenges to our business and our family. We got the news that our taproom was being forced to close when I was nine months pregnant with our second baby. In addition to losing our taproom patrons, our other important customers, the bars and restaurants of Chicago, were also closed. With these revenue streams gone, we had to adapt quickly! In one day, we set up a new online ordering system to allow for pick-up orders, signed up for every delivery app we could think of, and coordinated our own delivery. The most important thing we learned was the importance of a great team and a positive attitude. We tried as hard as we possibly could to keep morale high, even if it was seemingly minor decisions like the music in the cidery and putting goofy videos on social media. We stuck together and focused on our common goal: adapt and survive!
Steve Selin, Owner, Cidermaker and Orchard Manager
South Hill Cider – Ithaca, N.Y.
A lesson I learned as a cidermaker during COVID-19 is something that I always knew, but was reinforced: Cider is a drink that brings people together. During the pandemic lockdown in 2020 it was not easy for people to gather and visit with each other. By offering our cider in a space that is safe for people to gather, we were able to host heartwarming gatherings of friends and family in a most challenging year. The most common comment that we received last year was “Thank you for being here, it feels so great to visit with friends and feel like we are living again.”
“For those who have lost interest doubles training in the usual type of training (whether it be group lessons or single sessions in the gym), they do not see changes in their bodies and want to improve their fitness indicators,” Yuri is sure. Helen supports him:
“I recommend pair training to people with similar goals and people who lack the incentive and courage to practice alone. In addition, pair workouts are very good for the soul, for pleasure, for communication and energy exchange, ”she says.
Lee Reeve is the owner-operator of inCiderJapan G.K. (www.inciderjapan.com), an importer/distributor, retailer and producer of cider and cider-related goods. He is also the publisher of inCiderJapan, Asia’s first and only bilingual magazine dedicated to all things cider.
Lee Reeve can be reached at email@example.com