Starting Your Cidery
Are you looking to open your own cidery, meadery, or urban winery?
If so, congratulations! You’re embarking on a grand adventure.
So am I–I recently started a cidery (St. Vrain Cidery) in Longmont, CO, USA, with a couple of business partners. We’re still in the midst of many startup-related activities, and my intent is to share pertinent information around these activities with folks planning their own startups. Opening a business–even with good partners and division of labor–is a daunting task by any measure. Hopefully the content you find here will help make your own efforts along these lines a little easier.
Time For Some Homework
It should come as no surprise that one of your first tasks will be to hit the books–both cider-related and business related. See the books page for a list of books in categories such as apples, cider appreciation, cidermaking, meadmaking, and starting a business.
Looking For A Class?
Below are some cidermaking, winemaking, and business-oriented classes below which may interest you.
Peter Mitchell’s Cidery And Perry Academy courses are the most well-known training courses for becoming a professional cidermaker. In the U.S., these now fall under the Cider Institute of North America‘s purview, and are taught at Cornell and Oregon State University a few times a year. These classes sell out well in advance, so getting into one will require some planning.
Here are a few places where you can look for scheduling information:
- Washington’s Ag Business Center course listings
- Oregon State University’s Cider And Perry Academy – Foundation page
- Cornell’s events page — search for ‘cider and perry’
Oregon State University is also in the process of putting together a Cider Quality And Analysis workshop. Content for this one appears to be TBD, but its first session should be in Spring 2017.
The UC Davis extension has a Winemaking program which overlaps with cidermaking.
In particular, the Introduction To Winemaking Analysis and Wine Filtration Short Course are applicable, as the former includes many of the same chemical tests that cider is subject to, and the latter discusses many of the same commercial filtration options that cidermakers use.
Oregon State has a Craft Cidery Startup Workshop which covers many of the pertinent business topics around starting up a cidery. This is a week-long, onsite course which involves guest speakers from successful cidery startups as well as the opportunity to visit cideries in the Portland area.
Portland State University runs a 4-course Business Of Craft Brewing certificate program which is conducted online and which overlaps with the cider, mead, and spirits categories. It covers startup topics as well as ongoing management, distribution, marketing, and finance. If you’re considering it but on the fence about it or unable to fit it into your schedule today, sign up for their mailing list and keep an eye out for special discounts on upcoming courses during the holiday season. Also, if you do sign up as a result of reading this site, let them know that I referred you (I’m currently an enrolled student of the program and can get referral discounts on future classes).
Cider Serving / Appreciation
The U.S. Association of Cider Makers has created a Cider Certification Program (CCP) which covers cider history, appreciation, serving considerations, sensory evaluation, and more. There is currently a level 1 certification program–which will soon be offered online–with other levels to follow. I took this course at Cidercon in Portland in 2016 and received the certification — I recommend it highly, primarily because Eric West of Ciderguide is at the helm of the program and brings both an encyclopedic knowledge of all things cider and many years of education experience to the program.
Related Content on Cider School
- Craft Beverage Business Management — a comprehensive textbook covering topics including finance, logistics, ingredients, licensing/compliance, marketing, and more. Part of PSU’s Business Of Craft Brewing program (see above for more details). Covers cider to some degree, as well as mead and spirits.
- The Brewer’s Association’s Guide To Starting Your Own Brewery — beer-centric and not as in-depth as Craft Beverage Business Management, but covers a number of pitfalls and a wide variety of topics. Overlaps with cider on the equipment, site selection, distribution, compliance, and other topics.
- Many other books and publications are listed on the Books Page
If you’re interested in any way about the business side of cider — even if you’re not planning to open a cidery — I highly recommend the new Cidernomics blog by Eleanor Leger of Eden’s Ice Cider.
Not only is Eleanor a well-known and well-respected ice cider producer, but she’s studied economics and business. She’s also a great writer and illustrates the economic concepts around cider extremely well.
Is Your Cidery Already Open?
If you’ve already opened, or are well along the planning phase, please share your experiences with me in this short survey; I’ll use the results to better target information needed by those who are just getting started.
Know of Other Startup Resources? Let me know!
If you’ve come across good resources for cidery startups — be they books, courses, formal education programs, or what have you — please drop me a line through the Contact Page and let me know…I’d be happy to add them.